I’m a thinking man. You didn’t know that, did you? Yeah, it’s true. Sometimes. Unfortunately, I don’t think before I speak often enough, though I’m getting better. I usually make up for that by thinking way too much before I sleep. The thinking I do before I go to sleep is often about the things that worry me. When Sarah, Jakob, and Jaxon don’t feel well, I tend to lay awake for a while thinking about what’s wrong with them and worrying about their being okay. Then I sleep very lightly and react to their tossing and turning and noise making.
When I was laid off from my last church, I spent a lot of nights thinking about my severance running out before I found a job, whether I should be a youth pastor, children’s pastor, or lead pastor, whether I should go into the military as a chaplain, wondered why God would bless us with a child and then allow me to lose my job, worrying about the delivery, worrying about losing Sarah and/or Jakob during the pregnancy and delivery, etc. I picked right back up when Sarah was pregnant with Jaxon. I have thought a lot about a lot of things, and it usually leaves me with a stomach ache.
When I am given to worry, I tend to put a lot of time in thinking and worrying – sometimes 30-60 minutes a night when I should be sleeping. When I come to my senses, I start to pray about the things that have me worried. I usually only prayed for a few minutes, though. I would start out every prayer asking God to relieve me of my worry, to give me peace, and to give me the faith to trust in Him. It didn’t take long. Every time, I would feel Him removing my chains of worry. I used to regret falling asleep while praying, because I felt like a bad Christian. Now I only regret that I put my chains of worry back on so many nights like a pair of pajamas. Luckily for me, God was waiting there to remind me of my freedom every time. As soon as I would give my worries to Him, He would give me peace, and I would sleep.
Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The formula for not worrying is plain. First, I rejoice in God and what He has done. In doing so, I remind myself of His faithfulness and His goodness. Second, I recognize that He is at hand, or right there in my life. He’s an involved God. Third, I choose to pray and ask God to handle the situation instead of worrying about how I will make everything work. And then the peace of God will envelope my heart.