For the next several Monday’s I’ll be reflecting on thoughts stirred by reading Mary DeMuth’s upcoming book, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus. The following is a reflection the ideas in chapters 5 & 6
In a certain past season of my life, I allowed worrying about maintaining a relationship with another person, to control my entire day. Whatever they did impacted my mood, my schedule, my everything. Frankly, this is a darker time of my life and I hate to even think about it because I have changed completely from those days–by God’s grace. But as I read Mary’s 5th chapter, Set Aside Worry, the memories of this time began to surface. What I didn’t realize then, was that my fear, my worry, was my everything–rather than Jesus. Though a Christian at the time, I still had given fear a foothold and let me just say–fear has monster sized feet.
I struggled for months living in this unhealthy cycle day in and day out, and ironically, the more I tried to control the situation, the more out of control I felt. Thankfully, Christ got through to me at some point and the chains of worry, in this particular instance, were broken–though not without much prayer and confession and repentance on my behalf.
Of all the relationships we have, the one we have with Christ is to be the most important–above our spouse, above our children, parents, friends– He must be first.
Simply put, when we think of other people as our center and fulfillment, we live frustrated lives. ~Mary DeMuth, Everything
Christ is clear about this, when he says this,“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26, NIV84)
I’ve been good at worrying more about my relationships with others than about my relationship with Christ, (which by the way, is called idolatry. Yikes). But this scripture is harsh. It’s hard to understand, and yet, it isn’t.
Jesus’s message is clear, He must come first, He must be our everything. I’m so thankful He set me free from the weighty burden of worry I lived during that hard season. We don’t need to worry because He is with us, He’s seen our entire story from beginning to end already and we can trust Him with every breath we take.
Thoughts On Chapter 6- “Practice Resilience”
I once had a woman at a church I attended, try to tell me that that the interpretation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 (No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it) meant that the “escape” would be death. In other words, if you ever found yourself facing unbearable temptation and were unable to resist it, you would be taken to glory in that moment. Wait, wha–? (That was the last time I attended her bible study). Why do I say this, because this is a critical scripture to cling to when we’re worried about enduring the life Christ calls us to. His word tells us “He will provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it”, in other words,
God doesn’t remove; He brings us through. Mary DeMuth, Everything
Overcoming our worries, by His strength, allows us to venture deeper into the adventure of faith He calls us to. He hasn’t promised us an easy journey, but He has promised to be with us, to strengthen and equip us for whatever twists and turns we may face.
Our painful lessons, our challenging seasons often prove critical in our faith journey, pushing us into closer walk with Him. We should resist the temptation to pray for a removal of our suffering, and rather pray for the strength to endure it for His sake.
God isn’t just present in the peaceful, worry-free moments of our life, but His power is manifest in the dark, muddy moments of struggle, where we experience the raw reshaping of our hearts, to more closely resemble His own.
This book is messing me up in the best way.
How do you deal with worry and hanging in there during the hard seasons? Let’s chat about it in the comments today.
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