I was home at Christmas. It was a well-earned break, with the right amount of food, walks and laughs with Mum and Dad. It was enough to top me right back up to maximum charge in my very own computer game called "LIFE". I slept in late, watched TV and stuffed my face with.... watercress.
In among all of this self-indulgence we were visited by a lovely woman who helps my mum with bits of cleaning and weeding. Over the last year she has gone through what I would describe as a "real basinful". In between munching a ginger biscuit and slurping a tea she talked to us about family medical issues and the like, which had Mum and me in some kind of shock.
We all get that don't we? That sense of "How do you actually cope?" How do you deal with that level of water in your basin? She was in the midst of talking to us about the preparations that she was making for Christmas; an added burden on top of being carer and breadwinner and she recounted of a person asking her that question; " haven't you got a lot to do? " and her simple answer was " It'll get done".
I have a few spaces in between that phrase and my sentence to make a point. Just think about the simplicity. It got me thinking about how sometimes, we worry about things in the future that we know that we are going to do/work towards/accomplish. We know that they will be "wiped off the board" but that does not stop us worrying about them anyway.
We worry why?
Why do we worry about this? I would love to think that it is because we do not read our Bible enough. Or that it is because our brains have been taken hostage and we no longer speak in King James English and so the phrase "Do not worry" is something we do not understand.
Or that, I have misread the words and "Do not worry" actually reads N O WT O R D O RY, but I think I am wrong. We do worry and we do it all the time. About money.... relationships..... life.... death...... I find myself worrying about the silliest things, but also some of the most pressing things too.
I cannot, for instance do anything about ISIS. I can pray about it, but I cannot, physically go and speak to them and ask them to stop trying to taking over the world. I CANNOT DO THIS. Therefore, am I right in saying that which I cannot do in my own strength or with God assisting me I cannot or should be worrying about?
I think that there are two kinds of worry that we as Christians go through; there is the kind that we know will be solved in a week or a month, and there is the kind that has a much deeper root; let me tackle the first kind of worry.
I need to speak to myself and to others; the first kind of worry.
Like all of the things I talk about or speak about, I am not finished in my own life. I am a worrier and it affects my thought processes greatly. My goal in 2015 is for increase, in every area of my life; financial, emotional, spiritual and relational. I find myself thinking about what I could do better without setting out a plan to achieve that.
If you have a rushing river in front of you what do you focus on; the speed at which the water is flowing or the size of the bridge that you have to build to get you on the other side? We are called to trust God in this, and lean on his, not our own understanding. But I also think that a real practical point needs to be acknowledged here. I can worry about something; like for instance what I will eat and where I will go on New Year's Eve or what I will wear to the Christmas Party.
But the real answer to that and many other questions is that you will find something in the fridge, you will find a friend's house to relieve of their wine stocks and you will get a dress that will fit you. Some things are pre-occupations that will be solved in the advancement of time. A day nearer will bring the conclusion of that issue closer and perhaps bring you peace.
Jesus talks about worry in Matthew 5. He says "do not worry" but it is also worth paying attention to what follows this phrase ".... Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes?" It is interesting to think about what Jesus is trying to say. Is he cajoling us to think about things that are significant? Clothing and eating are not all that life has to offer, Jesus says. Do not pre-occupy yourself with things that are not, in and of themselves very significant. Wow, a bit challenging?
Worry has a friend; the second kind..
Worry can spur you to plan. But it can also stop you in your tracks. Worry has a funny habit of not dying unless you talk to it. There have been times when I have had to literally; tell the worry to be quiet. But worry is rarely by itself. Fear is the root of worry. What we fear may be different, but I can almost guarantee that there is a root of Fear in your day-to-day worry.
Think about it for a second. If I worry constantly about money what does that say? I fear being without. I fear poverty and living in a certain, penny-pinching way. If I worry about finding someone what does that say? I am fearful of being alone and have not dealt with what being "content in your own skin" might look like for me, in the absence of a man.
Five tips to help in 2015
Be his Child - A child learns how to accept help. I find this such a challenge. I want to show everyone that I can do things on my own and that I do not need assistance in any way. The reality is that I do.
Lean into his presence - Jesus is the Prince of Peace; that is one of his many names. More time spent in his presence means less time available to worry! When I have chosen to look to Jesus before thinking about the thing that is worrying me, it does not seem to worry me as much.
Speak to the fear - So if we speak to a fear; what does that mean? It simply means telling a fear that Jesus is in control. Jesus is love and the presence of God is enough to drive out the fear that you may feel.
Zip it - I have a habit of speaking about things that might not happen. Painting future scenarios of things I would rather not see. I always laugh when I think of the beginning of "Bridget Jones Diary" where she speaks to the audience, imagining that she will end up a spinster and be eaten by Alsatians! What she needs to do is to zip her imagination. She needs to be told that being single right now does not mean being single forever. That even if she is single, that does not automatically mean that she will be eaten by Alsatians! That actually, things can change.
It will get done- I think that it is very easy to say "do not worry" and very hard to actually do. I want to encourage you to ask Jesus for help with this and to explore why you think about the thing so much. The thing may have fear as its root which, when taken to the cross and the all sufficiency of Jesus will have no choice but to flee. There is an abundance of freedom waiting for those that seek peace and freedom from fear.
Have courage to ask Jesus and remember – it will get done.
Rosie Robinson resides in Manchester where, in between feeding myself coffee and bagels I work for an international financial services organisation. I attend a lively church called Audacious, enjoy reading, running and watching films and am currently on a trek with Jesus; discovering slowly but surely, all that life has to offer. And I have decided that I have the coolest big sister on the planet! (fellow young writer Amanda living in New Zealand).
Rosie Robinson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rosie-robinson.html