Everybody worries. Some of us don’t just worry sometimes we have such a problem with worry you might say it addicts us. If we find ourselves not worried, we get worried that there is something we should worry about and we worry until we figure out what it is. Then we worry about how much we worry.
I should know I come from a long line of champion worriers.
“The painful uneasiness of the mind that feeds on impending fears.” That’s how Charles Swindoll defines anxiety (AKA worry).
Because I constantly worried about something, I never enjoyed the peace available because of Jesus’ sacrifice. However, in 1971 one of my heroes of the Christian faith, Corrie ten Boom, wrote a beautiful little book titled “Don’t Wrestle, Just Nestle.” that had a tremendous impact on my life.
Now out of print, I treasure this little book. I have read it many times. One thing I have learned from the now yellowed and brittle pages is that it is impossible to worry and live in peace at the same time.
And yet faithful to my roots, I carry on the tradition of championship worrying. That was until…
Several years ago I was going through a tough time in my life. The situation had been going on for weeks and did not turn out as I had hoped it would. Heartbroken and in despair I looked to the Lord in prayer but what I heard rocked my world.
After pouring out my heart to Him, I heard (it was so clear it was almost audible) “But do you trust me?” What? How can you ask me that? Of course, I trust you but… He interrupted me mid-sentence, again the same question, “But do you trust me?” Yes, Jesus, I trust you but… again the interruption and the question came “But do you trust me?” This time instead of answering “yes, but” the tears flowed, and I opened my clenched hand and released everything I was grasping so tight in total surrender to Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Trust believes in God’s reliability, His truth, His ability, and strength.
But do I really trust God? I have to admit that this is one of the most challenging areas of my Christian walk. If I’m not intentional, worry, fear, and anxiety are a regular part of my life. It’s as though my life is like the title of Corrie’s book in reverse. I wrestle (worry) instead of nestling (trust).
I would like to tell you that after my “trust” conversation with God I never worried again and life was perfect. But alas, this was not the case. Although I didn’t expect life to be perfect, I thought I had put worry behind me and that the situations in my life were looking up and would only get better.
However, a few months later my world came crashing down. My greatest fear, the thing I worried about most often became a reality in the blink of an eye. A meeting with my supervisor and the Director of Operations; the words “this is very difficult, nothing you have done, purely a financial decision but your position is eliminated effective immediately.”
There it was in a heartbeat, I was 50 something, single, no living family, in debt, and out of work. What would I do? What would happen? Would I nestle or wrestle?
When I faced my darkest moment and my greatest fear I nestled. But what would the result of nestling look like in this situation?
Well, He came through in unimagined ways. Oh, boy did He. I had two job interviews within a week with job offers from both. I was back to work a month later, and during that time not one need went unmet. He walked with me moment by moment giving me courage and a peace and I cannot explain.
Each time the hurt, heartache, and disappointment welled up inside me, He guided me to Philippians 4:6 and Matthew 6:34 and once again I would nestle and gave it all to Him.
It seems the things I worried about and let rob me of peace were not too big for my God to handle.
“We all have different lists, but our deep, relentless worries carry a similar effect. They make us uneasy. They steal smiles from our faces. They cast dark shadows on our futures by spotlighting our shameful pasts. They pickpocket our peace and kidnap our joy.”–Charles Swindoll.
It’s not enough to understand what trust is. We also need to engage in certain actions; we will actually need to trust.
Think about what is going on in your life today. Are you having trouble trusting God? What are you worried about? Can you name what you are afraid of? Or what is it that makes your heart race with anxiety?
Are there situations you are wrestling with? Is it about your health or your body? Or maybe it’s about money. Is it a marriage that’s falling apart? Maybe it’s a concern for what somebody is thinking about you or a conflict. Maybe there’s an outcome you desperately want and you’re afraid it will not happen the way you want.
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t feel guilty about it, just take that worry and present it to God.
Trust is not a one and done experience. It is an intentional lifestyle. If we learn to nestle and not wrestle each time we feel anxiety welling up within us, it will set us free! Free to live in intimate relationship with Him and experience joy! And free to be who He created us to be!
Are you wrestling or nestling?
This post first appeared March 27, 2017