I don’t know why certain things make me nervous, but they do. Take, for example, the little dinner party I had planned for our neighbours yesterday. When I awoke yesterday morning, I was literally shaking, even though I had already done all the work in advance!
And then there was this morning. I had been invited to share a God-story at church. I was prepared, I had practiced, but I couldn’t shake the “shakes” this morning when I woke up.
A few days ago, I read something that really touched me. It was out of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. The demon, Wormwood, was describing to his nephew, Screwtape, how one of the ways they can keep us humans in the throes of temptation is to get us to live in either the past or the future. Living in the past traps us in regret, living in the future traps us either in regret, when our expectations aren’t achieved, or in worry about what the future may bring. Did I get so nervous because I am worrying about how the dinner will go? Am I nervous because I am worried that I will get tongue tied? That people won’t appreciate and relate to what I have to say? Am I worried because I am imagining possible scenarios that might never even come to be?
Yesterday morning when I got up shaking with nervousness about the dinner party, God brought this to my attention. I decided to take the Bible at its word when it says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:34 NLT). I focussed my thoughts on the moment. Every time I started to worry about how the dinner would go, I gave God the future and focussed on what I needed to do in the moment. The shaking stopped, I enjoyed my morning, and the dinner party went really well.
Then, when I woke up again this morning shaking because of having to speak in front of people, I again did the same thing. I was able to worship God right up until I had to speak, and it all went incredibly well.
The truth of the matter is, when we worry, we aren’t thinking about what will be, we are thinking about what might be. But we don’t know the future. The future is in God’s hands, not ours. Whatever the future brings, we can trust Him to carry us through, so what gain is there in the worry?
Remember, “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8). This means that when we rely on Him, His grace abounds and we will have everything we need, no matter what. It doesn’t mean we won’t have troubles. It simply means, God will help us through.
So why, exactly, do we worry?
We worry because we don’t have faith that God will carry us through the potential problems that may arise. And no, we shouldn’t worry, we should have faith in God. But it is human to worry, and God knows this. That’s why He has given us the excellent suggestion to not even think about the potential problems of the future, but to think about the moment instead: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt. 6:34 NLT). This safeguards us from needless (or needful!) worry, allowing us to simply let Him handle the problems.
The next time you are nervous about something, remember to focus in the moment and trust God with the future! You will find it will make a world of a difference!
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.