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 not once or twice, but countless times, consistently. Things like finances, having more month left than money, the kids getting sick, getting stuck in traffic, worries about parents long term health, car problems, fill in the blank…
These are not all small things, and one could feel justified in feeling some worry or stress over them. And please hear me dear friend, I’m not talking about clinical anxiety or depression. I have struggled with both of those challenges at different points in my life, and was grateful for the incredible support and resources that God provided through doctors and loved ones.
I am talking about a heart issue. A trust crisis. I think we all crave reassurance that everything will be okay when times are tough. The problem occurs when I crave reassurance more than I crave a deeper faith. 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.
As ridiculous as it sounds, when I’m like this I remind myself of Gollum from The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings. In placing my worries above God’s Sovereignty, I am no different than Gollum–weak and cranky, clutching to “my precious”, but instead of a ring, my worries has become my idols.
The only thing that snaps me out of that state is a major perspective shift. Looking at things through human eyes, my solutions are 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 and 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.'” Luke 12:27-34
Jesus calls the disciples (and us) out! He lovingly says to not worry about the things of this world. Even birds (not nice, pretty songbirds–squawking ravens) 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 in 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.
I have seen this play out in my life more times than I can count. When I am consumed by worry and stress, God helps me zoom out to look at things from an eternal perspective. I see ways to serve others and it’s life-giving. He helps me prioritize and grants me peace that passes understanding. He reminds me of my worth in Him, because when I let worry take over, I’m really believing the lie that I am beneath His notice. Dear sister, this is just not so.
You are precious to Him. He knows the number of hairs on your head and treasures you. He knows what you need before you need it and delights in providing above and beyond all you need.
If worry has become an idol for you, lay it at the feet of 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. If you are in a season of serious need, please don’t feel guilty if it feels too heavy to bear or if you are not a picture of perfect peace. There is grace in Jesus. 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 leave your worries in God’s capable hands.