The God Bit: Sunday 6th January

Blue ButterflyMy aim for 2013 is to be more consistent.  So as part of this I’m making a commitment to blog on a more regular basis.  One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do is a little written ‘Sunday Sermon’ if you will.  A small input into your Sunday, such as you might find on a ‘Pause for Thought’ segment on the radio. They’re not intended to be long, just a thought or two about what’s happening, or something that’s particularly struck me over the last seven days.

One of the big features of the last few months in our house has been worry.  We appear to have been accumulating almost a critical mass of the stuff. People’s health has been uppermost in our minds. Before Christmas, my Dad spent almost 9 weeks in hospital and since Christmas, my Father-in-Law’s health has been giving cause for concern.  He’s the one now in hospital, but hopefully this is something that can be quickly righted. Add to that the constant worries and demands of our working lives, our finances, our daughter’s education, the pressures of Christmas and before you know it, it feels like everything’s out to get you.  However much you want to have a fresh start for a New Year; it can, at times, feel like you’re dragging the weight of the world along with you.

I know very well that in Philippians 4:6 it says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for what he has done.”  In practice though I’m struggling to do that, to ‘give it to God,’ a phrase that almost makes me scream. It’s so glibly banded about by well-meaning Christians, who I assume must swan about in some harp-plucking utopia that I’m not privy to being part of.

In reality, I think it comes down to something a bit more earthly and grounded, that can be summed up in the words of the famous Serenity Prayer and others like it.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Or, the little rhyme I discovered that echoes this:

For every ailment under the sun
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.

With every worry we have, we can categorise it into one of two things: Something we have no control over, or something we have control over. I need to categorise every worry and see it for what it is. Immediately my worry load is reduced. I can concern myself with the bits I can do something about.  Finance:  I don’t have much control what comes in, but I have control over what goes out. In practice, the stereotypical magazine advice about asking for a pay rise really doesn’t work when you’re paid by the generosity of other people. People’s health:  I can’t control what’s going on at the hospital, but I can do my best to support them and the people around the sick person. Work:  I can’t control a lot of what comes in, but I can control the quality of work that goes out.  It’s not super-spiritual, but it ties in with so much of what the Bible has to say about what you can do to help yourself and not getting yourself all strung out over things you have no control over.  As Matthew 6:34 says “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Get a plan in place to change what you can and what you can’t, don’t worry about it.  Or perhaps another way of saying that, would be to ‘give it to God.’

Ah, I get it now.

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2 Responses to The God Bit: Sunday 6th January

  1. Louisa says:

    good advice that’s not always so easy to follow :)

  2. John Kuypers says:

    Rachel, I admire your self-deprecating and fresh honesty. I’m a believer and I have found Mt 7:1-5 the gift that has carried me through many trials and tribulations. You may find this teaching helpful in coming to peace with your understandable worries, as well as a way to bring the serenity prayer to life. I am developing a new site related to this prayer at http://serenitysecret.com. I would enjoy your perspective on it. Wishing you success, peace and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in your writings… peace, John

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