"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." - Philippians 4:6
What has you worried or anxious these days? Is it a relationship, a child, money or perhaps something unexpected that has taken you by surprise? Whatever it is, large or small, I have a simple message for you this week: Worrying doesn’t change anything.
I was reminded of this simple piece of wisdom last weekend while talking on the phone with my father. We’d been talking for about 45 minutes and were about to hang up when he casually said something that shocked me:
“Well, the house burned down on Tuesday. I’ve got to fly out to Denver in a couple of days to take care of it.”
“What did you say?” I asked, perplexed. “What house? Not the one we used to live in?” I asked. In the last few years since living in the DC area, my father has rented the house out. It has been in our family for about 20 years.
The news sounded major to me, but he delivered it in a calm, matter-of-fact tone.
“Was anyone hurt?” I asked.
“No. Thank God no one was hurt. But the house is uninhabitable. It’ll take a few months to rebuild it,” he explained.
“Dad, you don’t sound too upset,” I said. "And why didn't you call and tell me four days ago?"
“Well, being dramatic and upset isn’t going to fix the problem. I’m disappointed, but there is no need to get worked up. It won’t change anything.”
He made a decision to absorb the shock of a devastating loss and be grateful for the chance to rebuild. When he found out about the fire, which was caused by a cooking mishap, he didn’t race to tell everyone the bad news. He didn’t wallow in the problem. He accepted it – then went about the business of changing the things he could.
Remember the famous serenity prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr that is often quoted:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
When you face challenges, it is essential to make a choice not to worry by getting worked up over the things you cannot change. “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Jesus asked in Matthew 6:27.
Worrying drains your energy and time. Choose peace, prayer and calm. It doesn’t always feel easy, especially if you have a habit of being emotional, dramatic or anxious. You can experience peace in the midst of turmoil by looking for the reasons to be grateful despite unwanted circumstances.
Peace begins with thanksgiving. Calm begins with prayer. And change begins with you.
My challenge to you this week:
Stop worrying and choose peace, prayer and calm. Accept the things you cannot change and muster up the courage to change the things you can.
Consider something that currently worries you or makes you anxious. Which aspects of the situation are things you cannot change? What aspects of the situation are things you can do something about? What are you willing to do and when?
Taken from Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter. Written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. Copyright (c) 2007 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. Used with permission. www.valorieburton.com.