Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: Kicking the Worry Habit
By Verlie Ruhl
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On my mother’s side, a darker thread runs through the family tree. My maternal great-grandmother committed suicide. No one knows much about her--her children refused to discuss her. But many of her descendents struggle with a hereditary tendency toward depression, so we can guess at the pain and despair which ended her life. Given my family history, it won’t surprise you that peace of mind has never been my special gift. After all, it was my duty to worry, and I did it well.
But then there was Sheila. She was a Christian friend with whom I had worked for years. She had an effervescent personality, not giddy but always upbeat, always smiling, always caring about others. Her face would glow with pride when she told me about her son, a star football player and a good student. I asked if the teen years were as tough for parents as I’d heard. She said, “Don’t believe that stuff—-I’ve always enjoyed my kids.”
One day Sheila didn’t come to work. A murmur ran through the office—-her son had been killed the evening before in a horrific car crash. I felt sick for my friend. How does anyone survive the loss of a child? I dreaded seeing her, knowing that her joyful personality would be shrouded in grief. It was a couple of weeks before Sheila came back to work. I didn’t realize she had returned until she passed me in the hall—-with the normal bounce in her step, and a smile on her face. When I hugged her and told her how sorry I was, she hugged me back and said, “I miss him so much--but I know where he is. He’s with the Lord. It’s O.K.” My friend did grieve. There were dark shadows under her eyes, and she confessed that she often was awake in the early hours of the morning. But her calm demeanor revealed a stubborn peace that persisted in spite of the storm which enveloped her.
God tells us repeatedly through scripture not to worry. This isn’t a vague assurance that everything will eventually be O.K. The Lord is the omnipotent and omniscient creator of the universe, and he commands us to lay down our fear and to trust him. But after a lifetime of practice, it isn’t easy to kick the worry habit.
The Bible tells us how to change our thoughts. “Be still, and know that I am God. . . .” Psalm 46:10 (NIV). He gives us permission to quiet our racing minds, and find rest in him. Isaiah 46:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (NIV) Keeping our minds fixed on the Lord, meditating on his word, provides us with peace that the world cannot begin to understand.
Don’t let the difficulties of life discourage you. God doesn’t promise us an absence of trials, but he does promise that he will get us through the rough spots. Look at Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (NIV) Can you imagine that? The Lord is longing to take you by the hand, and help you through whatever it is that paralyzes you with fear. He deserves your trust. Let him give you peace.
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