verb 1. give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 12:25).
Jesus Christ posed an interesting question to his disciples, to challenge their thinking. Worry is so common to human beings that for some people it seems as natural a response as breathing, yet the Master pointed them to a higher way. The obvious answer, although none of them dared to speak up, was “Nobody, Lord. Nobody can add a single hour to their life by worrying.”
Here we are 2000 years later, and how would we answer? I personally would be like the disciples and not say a word. I would try to quietly back out of the room to avoid further conversation. I know the facts. Worry has probably stolen hours from my life. However, my thoughts and actions speak much louder than any words I might produce. Allowing my mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles contributes nothing positive. But when I worry I somehow convince myself that it gives me some control over the situation.
May I just be honest with you? I don’t like feeling that things are outside of my control, because it is uncomfortable. I don’t like being uncomfortable, because it is, at the very least, unsettling, and at the most, terrifying. Some of it is my personality, some of it is the experiences of my past. Regardless of the reasons for why I am the way I am, safety and predictability are what I desire. I know some of you can relate.
The trouble is being a follower of Jesus requires faith. Faith is the opposite of worry. Being a good leader also requires faith. Again, in case you missed it the first time, faith is the opposite of worry.
noun 1. complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith means that we have complete trust and confidence in the Lord. It also means we may feel uncomfortable humanly speaking.
I know some leaders that thrive when they embark on an adventure of faith. It is thrilling for them to be in a position to see God work beyond their own abilities. I am like the other leaders that are learning to thrive in the midst of an adventure that requires faith. My flesh still yearns to walk in the territory of the known, but the Lord shows Himself strong on my behalf. I don’t have to love walking by faith and not by sight. However, I do need to learn that it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
Last weekend the non-profit organization I lead had a 5K fundraising event. Last year my Board and I felt that the Lord was directing us to have such an event. Last year was an experiment and it went well for our first run. This year it was hard to get the momentum going. We increased our advertising, but registration was slow. For weeks I struggled with worry. I still believed we were following the Lord’s direction, but the anxiety mounted. I resisted imagining the worst, but the thoughts persisted.
This 5K is going to be a flop.
Nobody is going to sign up.
The weather will be terrible. Nobody will show up to help or participate.
Nobody will give to underwrite our expenses.
We will lose money.
All our donors will quit giving to us and give to another organization.
After 32 years of serving the community, we will close our doors.
I acted brave around my Board and staff, but I was miserable inside. Then the Lord in His sweet mercy broke through the internal clamor, and I heard Him speak gently to my heart.
Will you be okay with being uncomfortable? Will you trust Me, no matter what happens?
I again surrendered my desire to be in control, and God’s peace surrounded my heart and mind.
I am called to do my best; the outcome belongs to the Lord.
The organization I lead is ultimately led by Him.
Success looks differently to me than to the Lord.
He will provide what my organization needs, using resources I may not see at the time.
I can rest in assurance that the Lord will accomplish His plans through me for His greater purposes.
By the way, my resolve to trust the Lord was tested when there were only 13 people registered two weeks before the 5K. I held fast to faith in the Lord and chose to be okay with being uncomfortable. I experienced peace during the uncertainty, and the event came together wonderfully in the last few days.
As long as we live on this earth, there will be a battle between worry and faith. We can learn to trust the Lord no matter what happens. Victory comes when we decide it’s okay to be uncomfortable.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans are greater than I can see. Help me to trust You when things don’t go according to my plans. Teach me to banish worry and choose to have faith in You. Accomplish your purposes for my family and ministry through me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.