Worry: to feel or experience concern, anxiety, or mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.
Last week I received this e-mail with familiar questions that may resonate with you:
“I worry about my worrying because I that shouldn’t be worried if I truly gave my worries to God. Which makes me wonder and worry about how much faith and trust I have in God to take care of my worries. Which then creates worries about my relationship with God. Knowing that if I continue in this state of worrying, I will become anxious, resulting in anxiety on top of my worries which will make me worry even more. Which makes me wonder, does anyone else struggle with this never-ending cycle of worry?”
Before I answer that, let me share a story. My daughter was about 4 and her sister 2 when we went swimming on vacation at the hotel pool. As most parents do, we started at the shallow end of the pool, (they didn’t have a kiddy pool) holding her, acclimating to water, watching how she responded and elevating her fears, which turned out to be very few. Soon she began jumping from the deck of the pool into my outstretched arms, joyfully laughing again and again and again. We were having a blast. However, what happened next, I didn’t expect. While our attention was on her younger sister enjoying the water, I felt this splash next to me. Turning to see that my older daughter had jumped into the pool next to me without any prompting and now was in water over her head. Quickly pulling her to me while she was coughing, blinking, and spitting water while holding tightly to my neck. Once assured that she was OK, we explained that she was not to jump into any water without one of us there to catch her. Understanding the new rule, she headed back to the deck for more fearless pool jumping. (She still is quite fearless)
That day my daughter taught me a lesson on trust. She trusted that her mother or I would catch her when she jumped into the water. Her relationship with her mother and I told her that we could be trusted. Despite the size of the pool and its deep water, she knew that we wouldn’t let anything happen to her. Because she knew us, trusted us, she had no worries.
The same is true for you and me, if we have a rich, consistently growing relationship with God the Father, we will trust and rely on him more and more. Trust built upon our relationship with him, not our knowledge about him. A relationship built as Brennan Manning puts it, built upon “Ruthless Trust.” Trust grows in our daily conversations with Him. Through the wonder and awe of his presence in us, magnified through worship songs, sunsets, family, friendships, and his still small voice. Trust that grows in the little and large moments of life. Trust that is built and strengthened through intimate relationship and fellowship with him, or as Jesus called it; “abiding in Him.”
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15: 5-9
My daughter didn’t jump into the deep water because she trusted in her strength, she jumped because she trusted in mine, because she knew me.
Likewise, if we trust God to be our “Abba,” then our worries will wilt away. Not because we know a lot about him, but because we know him, and know that he knows and loves us intimately.
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