I know what it is like to be anxious. In fact, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that. After all, I am a pastor and pastors are not supposed to be anxious about anything, right? Well, I wish that were true. It is true we are not supposed to be, but it does happen.
Just the other day, I was driving somewhere and I was particularly troubled over some things and the thoughts about it were really bothering me. To be honest, the thoughts were about growing older and watching life move by quickly. In many ways, I feel like life has just started and I am looking forward to everything getting started. But when I remember my age, I am aware that the best days or at least the energetic days are moving rapidly behind me. I know that God has many plans for the future, but when we get older it gets more challenging to be enthusiastic about them, just because the energy levels lower.
So, I was thinking about the brevity of life, my mortality I guess, and feeling my age, so to speak, and was becoming more and more troubled. But then, I felt as if the Holy Spirit reminded me of some very important truths. First, He reminded me that this life is not about me. That may seem a little strange, but the truth is, life is not about us. Of course, we are the main players in the physical scenarios, but truthfully, biblically, the Word of the Lord tells us that this life is for Him. In other words, we were created for His glory, not ours. All of the events, all of the places we go, all of the things we do, are for us to glorify Him. To shine the spotlight on Him. We were created for His purposes, not ours. Isaiah 43:7 (NASB) 7 “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”
When those thoughts began to hit me, I began to feel two things. First, relieved. Second, sad. I was relieved because it took the pressure off of me to perform. To be everything to everyone and to make life happen, if you know what I mean. We spend so much energy trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle of life together, that we exhaust ourselves with doing and being and having everything just a certain way. Many, many days for me are filled with what I should have done or wish I would have done or would like to make happen, but when I come back to the truth that this life is not about me, I am relieved. Because, if life is not about me and what I can do or accomplish or get going, then God steps in to the spotlight and I am left with living only out of obedience to what He wants. I no longer have to make life happen or figure it all out. God begins to use me for who I am for what He created me to be and do. I just have to make sure I am living obediently to His word.
Nowhere in His Word are we told to work everything out. But over and over again we are told, not to worry or be anxious about anything. See Matthew 6;25-34 for more of what Jesus said. The truth is, if God is the One who is the focus of our lives and is the One who is to be in the Spotlight, I literally have nothing to be anxious about. He has said He will provide all of our needs, Philippians 4:13. And He has said He knows our needs before we even know them, Matthew 6 again. So, why would I waste so much time and energy and life, being anxious about what God said He would provide and take care of? I don’t. And neither does any child of God. I’m talking about people who are truly born again and have the Holy Spirit living inside of them.
This life is to be a celebration of the fact that Jesus came to pay the penalty of our sin and rescue us from the eternal damnation we deserve. Think about it. A life of celebration. Every day should be filled with a deep understanding that we are His means to bring glory to Himself. Not the ones who make it all happen. Wow! What a relief. I can worship a god like that.
Secondly, I was sad because my flesh or sinfulness wants certain things to happen in this life. I don’t want to get sick, ever. I don’t want my family to get sick, ever. I want our church and all the people I know to be at peace with God and each other and on and on it goes. I want to be a part of making people well, spiritually. I want the world to enjoy life and all God blesses us with. But my realization is that I have no ability to do any of those things. I can only affect myself. So my sadness was not justified. It was sinful. My role is to glorify God and make sure my part and abilities are being used for His glory, not mine and not my will.
Imagine a life of no anxiety. It’s hard to do so, but it is possible. Not perfectly in this life, because we deal with sin, but it is possible in a large way because of who we belong to. He is in control of all things, even the things we don’t understand. He has our best interest at heart and is willing and capable of providing all our needs, both physical and spiritual and emotional and mental. We literally have nothing to worry about.
What an awesome God!