Be still, and know that I am God.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you– you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:25-34)

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10)

It seems like everyone’s worried about something these days. If you’re not worrying about the economy, you’re worried about politics. If you’re not worrying about politics, you’re worrying about the environment or the world hunger crisis or international relations or your health or the way kids these days behave or the way adults just don’t understand or your job or your spouse/significant other or …. the list is endless. We work frantically to try and fix whatever problems we think are fixable, or work frantically to try and ignore the ones we think aren’t. We try to drown out our worries in work or play. We get so caught up in our worries that we don’t have room for anything else, and that takes a toll not just on our mental and spiritual well-being, but on our physical well-being.

Here’s the thing: we don’t have to worry, and we shouldn’t worry. When we worry, when we turn problems over and over in our head and agonize over what can or can’t be done to fix them, we enclose our minds and souls until they are only big enough for the problem we’re worrying about. We don’t leave room for God to work in us and through us. The fate of the world does not rest on our shoulders alone, but on God’s as well. Things will not always go well. But whether things go well or badly, God is always with us, and he’ll take care of us if we let him. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do whatever we can to solve our own problems, but it does mean that the problems shouldn’t consume our attention, and when we fail it’s not the end of the world. Do what you can, and trust God–in whose care the entire world rests, including you and me and everyone else–to take care of the rest.

When you find yourself worrying, don’t give in to the temptation to frantic action. Don’t give in to the temptation to turn your worries over and over in your mind. Instead, stop and take a deep breath, and remember that God cares for the world and everything in it. In the words of the Psalm, be still and know that God is God. Then take time to pray or meditate. Turn your worries over to God to deal with. Find something to be grateful for, something to rejoice over, and lift that up to the Lord. Then ask God for guidance and help dealing with whatever it is you’re worried about. Then act.

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