St. Paul speaks to the people of Corinth, desiring that they be free from anxiety. As we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19 may we discern what is in our control to change and pray for the Lord’s grace to face what comes our way.
Tag Archives: anxiety
The Lord’s insight about useless worry addresses a common human condition. We can easily waste the gift of life being anxious over things that give us nothing in return! Instead, may we focus on the Kingdom of God for the grace and strength we need.
We all know the story of Mary and Martha, but sometimes we forget that the Lord gently chides Martha because she is “anxious and worried about many things.” When we fall into useless worry, our best prescription is to focus on Christ for the strength and wisdom we need.
The Lord calls us to be vigilant – against drowsiness, anxiety, and drunkenness – as we pray for the strength to face our challenges in this life. For always remember: one day we will stand before the Son of Man.
How often do we let worry and anxiety bring trouble to our hearts? Yet the words of Jesus in the Gospel today remind us (once again!) that the Lord’s grace is greater than the stresses of our lives.
When worry overtakes us we lose our focus on the Lord and run the risk of wasting the gift of our lives. Jesus knows this, and his teaching in the Gospel today reminds us that as we follow Christ we will receive what we need to encounter each day when we think, pray and share over the worry that confronts us.
Study: Reflect on a time when worry and anxiety overwhelmed you. What broke the cycle and restored your perspective?
Pray: Is there something that you are worried about right now? Bring it to prayer and ask the Lord for guidance and peace in your heart.
Serve: Do you know someone who is overly anxious? How can you help comfort, calm and support them?
Worry, worry, worry! How often are we caught up in the anxieties, cares, stresses, and distractions of life! How easy it is to get spun up by things (often far outside our control) and waste time and energy that could be spent in a much more fruitful manner.
Here’s a quick overview of the readings:
- 1st Reading – The Lord says, “I will never forget you.”
- Psalm – “Rest in God alone, my soul.”
- 2nd Reading – We are servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries
- Gospel – “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow can take care of itself!”
Of course, just saying “Do not worry!” is not enough. It’s a simple sentence yet often difficult to put into practice. Why? Because there are many things in life we care about, and that natural concern – if left unattended – can take on a life of its own. When we let our natural cares run out of control we lose our perspective, and in turn we start to focus on the wrong priorities.
Yes, there are things that we need to worry about: making sure that our basic needs are met, attending to the natural cares of ourselves and our loved ones, doing the necessary planning and preparation so that life flows smoothly. This is part of our daily work, and as such we make the effort to do our best.
Here’s a simple question that I find often helps determine if I should worry about something: “Do I have any power to change or influence this situation?” If the issue in question is within my influence and control, then perhaps it is something that I need to attend to. But if the issue is outside my influence, then perhaps I need to let it go…worrying about it will only waste my life!
Easier said than done. That’s why I believe Jesus took the time to talk about this “useless worry” with his disciples. The Lord knows our hearts and understands how worry can overtake our lives.
So today, if we discover that worry is wasting our time and attention, may we call upon the grace of God to let it go and trust that the Lord will give us what we need to face the cares of life.
Do you ever find yourself wasting time on “useless worry” in your life? Many of us do, and the words of the Lord speak to this common human attribute. May we examine our lives and apply our time and energy to those things that matter…leaving worry behind.
Study: Where in my life am I anxious, worrying about things I have no control over?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the wisdom to focus on the needs that I have the power to change and affect.
Serve: Is someone in my life struggling with useless worry right now? How can I walk with them and offer comfort and strength?
Do you ever wonder how much time we waste worrying?
The Lord says “Do not worry” three times in the Gospel of Matthew, and I am inclined to believe that the repetition is there because, quite simply, we worry too much. I am constantly reminded in both my personal experience and my ministry how much life can be lost when we get anxious, and I take great comfort in the words of Jesus. Frankly, I believe the devil laughs when we worry; we waste our lives in an effort that gives nothing, absorbs our attention, and offers no growth or peace of mind. It is utterly useless.
To understand this passage I think it is important to make a couple of simple distinctions. First, we can be mindful of what is in and out of our control. Certain things in life we have the power to change; our effort (thinking, planning, choosing, carrying out) can make a difference.
Yet we also know that there are many things that are out of our control: weather, economic forces, complexities in our relationships, accidents, and the like. Nothing we do can affects these events – we can only adapt and respond as the situation warrants.
Second, planning is not worrying. Sometimes part of the work in our control is to make the plans and preparations necessary for the best outcome. God has given us many talents and skills, and our ability to anticipate needs and situations can help us add goodness and beauty to our world – it can save lives, and allow us to experience life through our best effort.
So, if something is outside my control and I am spending time, effort, and emotional energy on it – I am wasting my God-given gift of life.
If something is within my control and I do what I can to create the best outcome possible – I am using my God-given gift of life.
Third, not all activities are the same. The point in this passage is simple:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” (Mt. 6:33)
Our first priority is to put God at the center of our lives. Jesus invites us to build our lives on a foundation where the love and pursuit of God come first. With the Lord at the center of our lives we can then enter into proper perspective with others and the material needs of life. Simply put, when God is first then everything else falls into place.
Here’s a final question: Am I anxious? Am I wasting time, effort, and energy on things out of my control? What are the obstacles that are robbing my life of beauty, strength, and goodness. Can I locate the points of worry, recognizing their impact on my life and choosing to let them go?
Perhaps now is the time to turn to God and focus our lives on the one who made us, redeemed us, and strengthens us each and every day. Life is a precious and holy gift – meant to bring the love of Jesus to those around us. Perhaps now is the time to ask the Lord to plant peace in our hearts, letting go of anxiety and useless worry.