I had been telling myself all week that I shouldn’t worry about things. “Don’t worry about where you’re going to live in a few months. Don’t stress right now about what you want to do in life. Don’t be anxious about whether or not you should go to college. Just don’t think about any of it.” Of course, it was easier said than done. The more I tell myself not to worry, the more I do worry, it seems. It’s not often that I get worked up about things, but when I do, I feel like I worry about a lot of things all at once.
That morning, I rolled over and checked my phone for notifications as soon as my alarm went off. I was hoping my family had written a message to me. I had moved out a few weeks before, and missing them was hard. We hadn’t talked in a few days because they were very busy helping with a Vacation Bible School. I guess I was hoping for a text more than I thought I was. I took one look at the empty screen on my phone and couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed just yet. I had been trying to form a habit of rolling out of bed right away in the morning and not pressing the snooze button, but that day, it just wasn’t happening.
A few minutes later, my phone buzzed. Eagerly, I checked the message, but it wasn’t from one of my siblings or my parents. It was a message from my former classmate asking for advice. She couldn’t focus on her school assignments or on anything else because she was worrying about not being able to talk to her family. It was interesting that we were going through the same thing at the same time. I gave her the advice she asked for–and in a way, I was also giving it to myself. I told her that whenever I was feeling anxious or unhappy, the one thing that always helps me is to pray about the situation. Not just a little prayer like, “God, please help me with this,” but to discuss it with Him in detail, really tell my concerns, and be completely honest with Him.
If I tell Him, “I don’t understand what You’re doing right now, God. Please show me,” He will at the very least offer me some comfort, even if He doesn’t give me a direct answer. My friend thanked me for the suggestion and said she would take a break from her homework to spend time in prayer. She was following my advice; now it was time for me to follow it.
I finally got out of bed and began to say my morning prayers. I realized the only thing that could help me feel better was to spell out in writing all of my concerns and thoughts and worries that I had been keeping in the back of my mind the whole week. I decided I needed to journal, so I poured out to God everything that I was feeling.
I could feel Him listening, and I didn’t know if I would get a direct answer, but I was already feeling better just from having everything out in the open. I was about to open my Bible when my phone buzzed again. Cautiously, I unlocked the screen and looked, not wanting to get my hopes up. But this time, it was from my mom saying she missed me and wanted to talk. I was so happy when I saw it. I knew that the text was God’s way of telling me He’d heard me. It felt almost like a reward.
I hadn’t really felt like praying. It would have been easy to skip my prayers because I was in a bad mood. But God sent me that friend who was in the same situation as I was so that I would be motivated to also take the advice I had given her. When I did, He gave me a text from my mom as a prize for putting Him first, even when I didn’t feel like it.
I found peace after that time of prayer. I’m not worrying about college or my housing situation anymore because I know that if God cares enough to cheer me up when I’m having a bad day, He cares enough to take care of me in the big ways as well.
Put God first in your life and don’t worry about tomorrow. He has it all figured out.
“So I tell you, don’t worry about the food or drink you need to live, or about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothes. Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it.”
Matthew 6:25-27 (NCV)
Madeline Elyse – Column: Encouragement & Motivation