The Thought for the Week this week is written by Paul Sharkey

by Susie Jean Sharkey

Worry (part 1)

“If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NLT).

There's something special about being faithful in our journey with God day by day.We can live our lives our own way (My will be done) or we can ask Jesus to lead us and we can live life His way (Thy will be done). That's a huge change of direction for us, because even if we consider ourselves to be the nice person we think we are, we can still be missing the best for our lives by not involving God in every day, hour and moment of our lives – by not inviting Him to be at the centre of our very existence. So, how does this change the way we live? Well, take worry as an example. Lots of us worry about lots of things. Even if those things actually never happen. We can lose sleep and lose peace in our lives all because of worry. We know it's a waste of our time and energy and we know the things we're worrying about may never come to pass, but we still worry. It can keep us off our sleep, make us irritable and spoil the relationships we have with those around us, even those we love most dearly. We've all been there. But, when we read through the bible, we come across Jesus, saying, “..I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to ear.” (Matthew 6:25 NLT). He says not to worry! Is that even possible? How could I stop worrying? Surely, we worry because we're concerned about the future? About our homes, our families. Isn't it responsible to worry? And yet, we know that worrying just stresses us out and steals the joy and gladness which we have – or had.

So, we're faced with a choice: do we choose our own way (the 'self-way', the self-ish way) and worry? Or, do we try really hard not to worry and try to follow Jesus? Yes, we can know what to do, but doing it is a different matter. How do I actually stop worrying?

Let me explain...

It's impossible just to switch off worrying the same way we'd flick a light switch. If it's there, it's there. But, we can give it to Jesus. We can hand it over to Him. Remember, on the Cross He took all our sins, but also all our human weaknesses: Weaknesses and failings that trouble us on a daily, if not on an hourly basis. Lots of Christians have personally experienced this miracle – and it's not difficult to experience this yourself – and can be life changing. Try praying something like this: “O Lord, I'm worried sick about ….......... . I know You took all my failings on the Cross, please take this from me right now.” Then, inside yourself, see yourself handing the issue or issues over to Jesus at the Cross. Feel it go: let all that worry and stress flow out to Him and fill yourself up with His joy instead. It actually happens. In doing this, we are choosing to live life His way, rather than living our own way – and we've taken a step of being obedient to His teaching. It works for worry and stress, but for fears and irritability, jealously, hatred and every other negative emotion you can think of. Through this, we can get rid of all our negative feelings, even lifelong, entrenched feelings and discover a joy from beyond this world that will carry us through anything!

Try it and see!