Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
To say that I had a rough childhood would be an understatement. I dealt with health issues from a young age, the quality of my intellect was constantly under attack due to my lack of years, friendships were superficial and often short-lived, and had very little control over the use of my time. As a result, my anxiety sky-rocketed.
With each new year, I became sicker and sicker. I was a giant bundle of raw nerves, feeling helpless and overwhelmed. In my teen years, I learned to cope by developing a controlling nature. Still, when I came across a situation that I hadn’t anticipated or couldn’t see a way out of, I reverted back to the frightened child I kept locked deep inside me, unable to deal with the fresh wave of stress crashing over me. It was a very unhealthy time in my life and I regularly dealt with depression.
I remember sitting in my Bible Study group of ladies during my senior year of high school. Now, I had generally learned to keep my freak-out sessions to the privacy of my bedroom. But as we shared our prayer requests, I unloaded all my woes on my companions.
College was around the corner and I had no idea what I was going to do. What was I going to major in? Where was I going to go? How was I going to pay for all of it? Was I capable enough to work full-time while completing my classes? I felt pressure to do pass all my classes with As’s, but I was experiencing difficulty with a handful of subjects. And then there was my social anxiety preventing me from making close connections with certain peers as well as my lack of confidence around boys–who seemed to be avoiding me like the plague. You throw in constant nerve pain and never-ending fatigue and you create the perfect situation to deplete any semblance of joy in a young woman’s life.
As I sat in embarrassment with tears in my eyes, the Bible Study leader–we’ll call her Mrs. T–only had one recommendation. She opened her Bible and had me read Matthew 6:25-34. When I finished, it hadn’t given me any relief. So I read it a second time. I then ranted that I didn’t care what I ate or what clothes I wore. That’s why I was over-weight and the popular people didn’t want to be my friend.
Unrelenting, Mrs. T told me that she wanted me to memorize that passage. She added that she was going to quiz me every week.
Rote-memorization had never been a skill I’ve been able to master. So I blew it off and was unable to recite it. But Mrs. T worked with me and after a couple months I was able to say most of it word-for-word without much help. It took time, but these verses quieted my mind.
Everything eventually worked out. I had prayed extensively my senior year of high school. I asked God for a way to pay for school without being in debt half my life. I asked him to guide my decisions so that I ended up in the degree program that He wanted me to get into. I even calmed enough to meet new people and learn how to develop close friendships–many of whom I still keep in touch with today.
Now, don’t get me wrong–memorizing these verses won’t make anxiety go away. I still have my flare ups when I feel as though my world has been turned up-side-down. But knowing how God has helped me in the past reassures me that He has a perfect plan for me.
What I find especially comforting about this passage is the last half of Verse 26. I am reminded that I am valuable to God. He wants to take care of me and give me what I need. I just need to learn to ask Him for help. Like I said, I’m a control-freak. Giving up power is hard for me. But I’ve really learned over the years that there’s no shame in asking for assistance, especially when I’m requesting it from the all-knowing, all-powerful God that created me and loves me no matter what I’ve done.
So I’m going to encourage you to seek after God in the unknown moments–when you’re not sure where the money is going to come from, or when you’re trying to fix a relationship, or when you’re tired of a health problem that’s keeping you from enjoying life. Remember: you are valuable! God loves you and wants the best things for you. You just need to stop worrying and seek after Him.