Daily Devotions

A Better Way than Worrying

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Anxiety weighs down the human heart, but a good word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Worry is infectious. It begins as a little mental itch and grows within us like a cough that turns into bronchitis. Some worry is healthy. If you see a tiger in the jungle, it is good to worry, because it could be the difference between life and death. But most of our worry isn’t life threatening. Learning to evaluate the difference between necessary and unnecessary worry is vital to a happy and fulfilling life.

Tim Denning faces the issues of worry in his article, “Advice from a 33-Year-Old Who Wants You to Stop Worrying so Much.” Denning challenges his readers, “If today was the last day of your life and you were going to be buried in a casket tomorrow, how much of what you are currently worrying about would no longer matter?” It is a rather graphic question, but makes one think about what a serious concern is.

To overcome our own preoccupation with worry, he challenges us to focus on other considerations. First, he challenges us to “Think about someone who is facing real problems.” This activity helps us put our concerns into perspective. Then, “Pay attention to your well- being.” Worry takes an emotional and physical toll. Focusing on self-care helps us consider if our worry is beneficial or destructive. While he offered a longer number of recommendations, I would like to conclude with “Learn to give now otherwise you never will.” Caring for others helps take the focus off your worrying, which helps provide perspective.

If your worry is legitimate, determine whether you can address it and bring positive closure, or if it is beyond your control. If you can bring closure, develop a plan, seek helpful assistance, and work the plan. Even the act of working at it can bring release from the stress. When we cannot control the situation, let it go. Now, whether you have a level of control or not, it is vitally important to prayerfully hand your situation over to God. Through these actions, perspective is reached, anxiety is reduced, and worry is managed. Give it a try, it is better than wallowing in the worry.

Lifting the Worm out of the Horseradish

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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband See, I am making all things new. (Revelation 21:1-2, 5)

The preface of Malcomb Gladwell’s book, “What the Dog Saw,” includes the statement, “To a worm in horseradish, the world is horseradish.” Too many people believe that our world is the only world. There is a heavenly chorus singing us on to glory. The Holy Spirit is all around us and within us. Sometimes our world is as sticky as a big glop of horseradish. The goo is so thick the worm cannot push its way out. Since it cannot get itself out, it pretends there is nothing beyond the horseradish.

Life can be like a worm in horseradish. The person born into a hellish family, filled with drugs and abuse cannot see beyond their plight and believes the whole world is hell, and everyone in it is an abuser. In that situation, it is hard to see a world beyond the painful experience. Healing takes place when we see that our little part of the world isn’t the extent of our universe.

My daughter works for a not-for-profit organization that provides mentors for students, beginning in fourth grade. There are a number of examples of students and their mentors who stayed together from elementary school through high school graduation. Some of these students had a very limited worldview, and a tough life. Their mentor provided a larger worldview, with many students going on to college and creating a world for themselves previously beyond their imagination.

Today, pray for God to give you the ability to see beyond your present circumstances. Each of us can easily slide into the horseradish. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God can lift us up and give us a greater vision to see “a new heaven and new earth.” We are able to “accomplish all things through he who loves us.” When we have a heavenly worldview, we can reach beyond our present circumstances and do great things in God’s name. Climb out of the horseradish and trust God to bring you new challenges and blessed experiences. Also, by taking an opportunity to lift others out of their horseradish and bring them joy anew, you are climbing out of your own situation and “making all things new.”

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