Stressed Out Over Nothing
Recently our pastor took a break from his sermon series to address a timely topic: worry and anxiety. Among Scriptures he had members of the congregation read:
- Isaiah 41:10: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (all verses from MEV).
- Proverbs 3:24: “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.”
Romans 8:37: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
He reminded us that these passages and others all have the theme of God being with us, so we should not be afraid.
A bank manager in addition to pastoring, he remarked that he has never encountered so many people who are worried about losing their job as during the past year.
“We are more stressed out and anxious than we’ve ever been,” he said of modern society. “A self-focus creates anxiety. We are addicted to self-importance. Our culture is anxiously trying to fix itself.”
I could relate to his words, because 2021 seems to be the Year of the Rollercoaster.
I have been so busy at times that I feel like I’m playing in the middle of traffic on the interstate. And so unbusy that one time I wrote a pair of quarterly blogs for a website several months before they were due, figuring I might as well work ahead while I had the time.
This year, I’ve had three different book projects fall apart unexpectedly. Fortunately, the latest turned out to be a delay while the author works on an outline and focusing his thoughts.
Still, in early September when he told me he wanted to put the project on hold until January, my stomach sank. The income I had been expecting for that month: poof! Gone, just like that.
The Spirit Speaks
What happened next is the kind of stuff that makes me grateful for the disappearing acts I’ve endured.
It occurred soon after I learned about the latest book delay. The following week, I was praying when the Holy Spirit suddenly brought a name to mind. It was of a pastor I helped with his first book in 2015.
When we talked in late spring this year, he said he had eight of 11 chapters written for his second book. I told him I wasn’t going to be able to revise it if he needed it done over the summer.
At the time, that was true. Now, not so true.
So, after my prayer time I emailed the church member assisting him with editing and production. I told her I knew it was probably late in the process, but if she needed help with a final edit I was available.
She soon replied, “Your timing is perfect!” Attached was the manuscript for the book.
I finished that final edit in less than two weeks and got paid quickly. The amount happened to match the income that had disappeared because of the delay in early September.
It was a reminder that I need not be stressed out, no matter what things look like. When Jesus said, “Therefore, take no thought, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things” (Matthew 6:31-32), He was telling the truth.