A Matter of Convenience

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convenience

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34)

Convenience… Or Not

Convenience is important in our family, because the days I work are a bit crazy. I try to account for this by grocery shopping on my days off, meal planning, and taking care of household chores on the weekend. Mostly, I fail at this. This last week was an example of that when I thought we had run out of milk. (We actually had a gallon in the basement fridge that I’d forgotten about, but that’s beside the point.) So, my boys and I had to make an unplanned stop after I picked them up.

Although it was inconvenient to stop, the errand itself wasn’t the problem. It isn’t difficult to find a place to buy a gallon of milk near me, and I certainly don’t have to milk a cow! The difficulty was deciding where to stop. On the three mile trip from the boys’ school to our home, I had seven different options for where I could stop to get a gallon of milk. No exaggeration. As I started driving, I had to weigh options by cost of the milk, how much of a detour it was from my route, and the size of the store (and how far the boys and I would need to walk to get the milk). Talk about “First World Problems”!

Worry: The Internal Monologue

Figuring out where to get milk is just one example of what I worried about this week. We all have those sins and habits that we wish we could rid ourselves of for good. We talk to God about it in prayer, read self-help books, talk to friends and counselors, and yet it’s still a struggle. My pet sin? Worry. I worry about what to make for dinner, whether I look okay, my kids’ health, our finances, my job, the weather, my husband, and my house. I even worry if I’m worrying too much. Seriously. And I can tell you: it isn’t good for me. Worry has taken its toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I’ve often heard the verse from Matthew that tells us do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself (Matthew 6:34). But it was the words of Pastor Steven Furtick that stuck out to me and explained to me why worry is so spiritually harmful: “In some ways insecurity is the ultimate insult to God. Because when we allow insecurity to override God’s purpose in our lives, we’re implying that He didn’t quite get the job done when He put us together.”1 Ouch. That one stung.

Needs and Desires

A common model of needs and desires for all humans comes from the psychologist A.H. Maslow. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, developed in the early 1940s, describes how our motivation to behave certain ways changes depending on whether certain needs are met. The idea is that basic physiological and safety needs must be met before someone can concern themselves with higher-level needs like matters of relationship and spirituality.2

God created us, and He knows this. So, he promises to take care of these basic matters so we can grow closer to Him. That doesn’t mean we’ll always have everything we want, but it means that He’ll provide resources and support for us to help meet these needs. This might be through jobs, other people, support organizations, or a variety of other sources.

For worriers like me, this becomes a Hierarchy of Worry. If I don’t have to worry about basic needs like food and safety, I worry about whether people like me or whether I’m good enough for God. But, thankfully, God is starting to help me realize who is really talking when I hear this voice in my head.

Distracted by the Deceiver

Satan is opportunistic. When he sees a way to attack that we’ve made easy for him, he’ll take the path of convenience. For people like me who struggle with worry, Satan jumps in with lies and deceit. Pastor Bill explains, “That’s the enemy’s game plan for our anxiety: distract and discourage. Anxiety robs of peace as our stomach turn, mind races, and our heart pounds against our chest. We feel isolated, alone, and without hope. Anxiety is fear there is no hope outside of me.”3

Maybe you’re less vulnerable to sin in certain areas of life. You tell the truth, are generous with your blessings, care for other people. But if you’re getting anxious about having your needs met, no matter how big, your eyes are off God and His promises for your life. The deceiver has found a foothold. Time to give him the boot.

Switch Your Focus

How do worriers like me shake off Satan? We can switch our focus. Rather than looking at our desires, our concerns, our challenges, we look to Jesus. “Jesus was born to bring peace for our anxieties and a hope that changes everything, even the darkness of sin. The more we see Jesus as the present reality of hope, the more it will change our lives. Jesus is the hope that changes everything.”3 When we look to the cross and realize that Jesus met our biggest need – reconciliation to God – when he sacrificed himself for us, our perspective changes.

It’s simple to do, but difficult to make a habit. Pastor Bill suggests identifying the worry first. If we don’t pause to recognize what’s causing us anxiety, we won’t recognize it for what it really is. Once we identify the worry, we pause and pray about it. Talk to God about your worry, and pray over passages that remind you of God’s promises. “Remember who Jesus is. He is your Savior, Friend, Deliverer. He is your helper, comforter, protector.”3

Jesus Changes Everything

Sacrificing himself for us was not a matter of convenience for Jesus. Forsaking His only son was not convenient for God. But the love God has for us was enough to motivate Him to take the leap and bring us back to Him.

Life isn’t always convenient for us. In fact, sometimes it’s downright challenging. But we need not worry that God’s going to come through for us. Because he already has… at the cross. Fixing your eyes on Jesus changes everything.

Sources

Furtick, S. (2014.) Crash the Chatterbox. New York, NY: Multnomah Books. p. 23.

2 McLeod, S. (2018.) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Simply Psychology. Accessed on 23 January 2020 from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html.

3 Limmer, B. (15 December 2019.) Hope changes everything. Hope sermon series. Retrieved from https://victoryofthelamb.com/sermons/hope-changes-everything/

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