Show me your worries and I’ll show you your idols.
I’ll admit the first time I saw this quote I didn’t like it. Not because I disagree, but because it hit a little too close to home. I felt physically uncomfortable because I am a worrier. I tend to perseverate on things that God has taken care of not once or twice, but countless times, without fail. Things like financial stress, the kids getting sick, balancing work and mom-guilt, worrying about parents’ long-term health, car problems, and the list goes on and on.
These are not small things, and one could feel justified in feeling some worry or stress over them. But I am talking about a heart issue. A trust crisis. We all need reassurance that everything will be okay when times are tough. The problem occurs when I crave reassurance more than I crave a deeper faith, and I seek solutions before I seek my Savior. Sure, my initial intention is to give my worries to God, to allow Him to provide in His perfect timing, but when my patience runs out, I cling more to my worry than to the One whose grace is sufficient for all my needs.
When I’m feeling like this, I’m reminded of Gollum from The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings–weak and cranky, clutching protectively to “my precious”. Only instead of a golden ring, it’s my worries that have become my idols.
The only thing that snaps me out of that state is a major perspective shift. If I look at things through my human eyes, my solutions will be short-sighted and a band-aid at best. God’s perspective is limitless. He can see the beginning, middle, and end of my story all at once. He knows exactly what to do and when.
In Luke 12:27-34, Jesus reminds the disciples of the bigger picture and resets their perspective.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'”
Jesus calls the disciples (and us) out! He lovingly says to not worry about the things of this world. Even the birds have all their needs met without striving or panic. Jesus draws the disciples’ attention to the real issue: their hearts.
When our hearts are set on worrying about material things, our focus is inward, our treasure becomes our security in those things. Jesus invites us to a better way. He calls us to set our hearts on heavenly things by seeking His Kingdom. Then, everything else will fall into place.
James Bryan Smith said it beautifully, “The kingdom of God is never in trouble, the kingdom of God never runs out of resources and the kingdom of God is never lacking in power. Therefore, those who live with God in this available kingdom are never in trouble, never lack provision, and never lack power. In the kingdom of God, I discover that I am safe, significant, and strong.”
As God’s beloved daughters, we have access to all the resources of the Kingdom of God, and His Kingdom is unshakable. And God is pleased to give us His Kingdom.
When we find ourselves consumed by worry and stress, God helps us zoom out to look at things from an eternal, Kingdom perspective. He helps us prioritize according to His perfect will and grants us peace that passes understanding. He reminds us of our worth in Him, countering the lie that we are beneath His notice.
Because the truth is, dear friend, that you are precious to Him. He knows the number of hairs on your head and treasures you. He knows what you need, even before you need it and delights in caring for you. He won’t waste a moment of your present difficulty and will redeem your pain for purpose. As we seek God and step into Kingdom life, we are transformed to be more and more like Christ. And while our circumstances may not immediately change, our hearts and perspective will.
If worry has become an idol for you, I want to invite you to bring it to Jesus. Let him speak peace to your soul and help you realign your heart with His. He will continue to work on your behalf and provide for your every need. It’s ok if your life doesn’t look like a picture of perfect peace. Sometimes trusting Him is done through tears and clenched fists. But God’s grace and compassion for us never run out. He walked this earth and experienced all the same things we do. He will not abandon you in your time of need. He will sustain you and gently turn your face toward his loving gaze.
Lean into Him, set your heart on His Kingdom, and rest your worries in God’s capable hands.