This is the extent of Adeline’s worry for the day, and pretty much the perfect picture of “no worries”. Any other mothers out there that could stare at their child(ren) sleep for hours? They just look so innocent, peaceful, and so . . . worry-free.
Remember in Matthew 6 when Jesus talks about worry? He gives us the following simple command, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” Phew! Done. Alrighty then! No need to worry. Wait, what????? Do not worry??? How is that even humanly possible?
The short answer is this, “It is not.” (humanly possible I mean)
Jesus continues on, “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? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing?” I mean he makes a good point or two there, doesn’t he? We are more valuable than a bird and worrying never helps to change our circumstances. Yet, worry seems to be something we cannot shake. Something we cannot avoid. Something we cannot quit doing.
Again, I turn to my 2 (almost 3) year old daughter as she sings happy birthday to her Tia (Aunt) Emily, playing her guitar, dressed in her “princess” dress from her first birthday (that somehow still magically fits). She takes herself so seriously sometimes without forgetting to enjoy every moment of life. It is a birthday celebration, why not put on a tutu ballerina-princess outfit 2 sizes too small, grab a guitar, and start playing and singing happy birthday? Makes perfect sense. Now, contrast it to my preparation: shower, make up, hair, dressed (twice because the first outfit didn’t really work out too well), ponder a gift, remember this month’s budget has no money to buy a gift, think about driving to the city, where we will park, what time we “must” leave, will we return home in time for an afternoon nap . . . you get the point (right?). Pretty much the same thought process as my daughter. Except for one thing: the complete opposite. When I type this out it seems like worry, but I don’t remember it feeling like that.
Jesus assures the crowd that “your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (food, clothing, shelter), while he reminds them of what is important; which is to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. Of course this lesson on worry comes after he points out that no one can serve two masters. He reminds us that worry and prayer do not exactly go hand ‘n hand. If we are too busy worrying about our lists, our needs, our days, then we are not talking to God about them – and we are definitely not trusting them to God. This is why I say it is not “humanly” possible to get rid of our worry – it is something only God can do in us.
Part of why Adeline can sleep soundly and play joyfully is because her needs are met, and she trusts they will be. She knows that when she asks her Mom for a snack or dinner (or yes most of the time even ice cream) she will get it. She knows when she is tired she has a bed to retreat too (and a big girl one at that). She knows she is loved and taken care of. She doesn’t have to question how her next “need” will be met, well because they are always met.
Do we not know the same love? Do we not have a Father who takes care of us? The answer is a bold, “Yes!”. When we choose to worry we decide to carry our own burdens instead of giving them to God. It is a decision that allows worry to have free reign over us, instead of God’s Spirit, which is capable of transforming our worry into peace. I know for me I always want to think I can handle it, take it on, carry it alone. Yup, stubborn and strong – that is me. Only they do not necessarily pair well together (stubborn & strong). Jesus reminds us that true strength comes in trusting in Him, and giving it up to God (I think that might qualify as the opposite of stubborn). True strength comes from God’s Spirit alive in us, working in us, transforming the bad into good (ie: the worry into peace).
So this week’s challenge is simple (but of course FAR from easy): Let’s agree to worry like 2-year old’s worry – like Adeline. Let’s sleep peacefully and play joyfully. Let’s choose prayer over worry- prayer that leads to peace, that in turn leads to joy. Let’s put on our dress up clothes, grab our guitar and sing Happy Birthday to Tia Emily (her birthday was February 1st so if you want to really do this you can :). Why not embrace our inner 2 year old? You know, the worry-free and joy-filled best version of us; the reflection of God that exists in each one of us. OR we can worry – but will that “add a single hour to your span of life?” Will it bring you joyful peace?