"For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:32-34
I feel like I quote this verse a lot but it consistently applies to me and my walk with the Lord. I constantly try to have of control over my life and God has really been working with me on that. There are parts of my life that I thought I was letting God have control of but in reality I was still holding on to them very tightly. The most recent example of God taking control from me deals with this verse. "Do not worry" he says.
When I have prayer requests or things that I am concerned about I become burdened by them. I drown in other's sadness and I get really stressed about it. I always thought it was because I "felt" for people. I saw my unhealthy burden as a good thing. This is so far from the truth. I felt this burden because I wanted to change people, I wanted to force them to focus on the Lord, and I wanted control over the situation. I wanted to be the solution. But this isn't my jurisdiction. Worrying and stressing about prayer requests doesn't change anything. The only thing it does do is prevent me from giving it to God. It prevents me from praying about it because I think my concern is going to fix everything. That needs to change.
God is changing me but he is doing it in such a gentle way. Instead of painfully ripping control from me he is lovingly showing me the importance of relinquishing it. It started this week with my friend Kristin losing her step-dad. When she texted me to be praying for her family I started to feel weighed down once again with the heaviness of a lost family member. Extreme empathy for those I love. I was stressed that I couldn't be there to hug her or fix the situation. I can't bring her dad back. But I wasn't praying about I and I wasn't giving it to the Lord. I was just worrying. Then I talked to her and her husband on the phone. The weights were getting heavier as I heard the sorrow and weariness in her voice and I could barely formulate a response. But Kristin didn't need my advice or my comfort. She had Jesus. She explained to me how God is using this for his glory, how he is blessing her in this situation, and how God is bringing her family closer to each other and to him. She has always been a solid believer amidst the large amount of trials she has been thorough and this is no different. She praised the Lord for what he is doing in her church and in her life and I was blown away. She has joy in this deep sadness that I don't think I could have after losing my dad. God is incredible!
As I was talking to her I felt the burden lift and be replaced by the love of God. He gave me perspective. I don't have to worry about her focusing on God because she already is. I don't have to worry about her situation because God has his hand in it. I don't have to worry about what I can do for her because He so clearly showed me what I should do. He said, "Pray."
Prayer is powerful and not something to be remiss about as I have been. Prayer is how I reliquish control and how I can truly be there for people. I can be concerned and I can have empathy but not to the point of ignoring God's hand in my life. I can communicate with my creator and trust him instead.