"Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God." Philippians 4: 6
One of my biggest struggles as a mother has been in the area of worry. I worry that our son's kidneys might be worse at the next visit, I worry that my children will be injured, I worry that they will not follow God when they are grown and a million other little worries. I worry about what I cannot control. The biggest remedy for this has been to substitute the worries with prayer.
I don't know about you, but when I am stressed about something, even subconsciously, I feel a tightening in my chest, an odd sense that something is off, or not right. I'm pretty sure that the piling up of these worries and fears years ago led to a stomach ulcer that plagued me. I knew things were pretty bad and out of control if I was letting worry and fear affect my physical body, stealing time I wanted to spend with my family and landing me in bed, useless.
Now when I feel that "offness" or tightening, I take a moment to stop and pray. "God, help me to identify what is causing this unrest or stress in my body." It has worked every time.
Maybe I let something someone said hold its burrs in my soul too long or had thought about another "what if" when I shouldn't have. Once the stress is identified, I work through it mentally. "You know, I'm not going to let defamation of my name bother me as long as my character can stand up to God's Word." Or, "If that's the path God chooses for us to walk, He will give us the grace to walk it." Then I shrug that little burden off my back and go on with my day. If I'm still tempted to dwell on it, I ask God for strength and help.
This past year was full of those paths I would not have chosen to walk. The painful, trying situations that God can use to refine us, if we let Him. My flesh would have rather stayed unrefined, to tell you the truth. Off hand I can think of a handful of scenerios that we've gone through that are out of my control and I see are completely in God's control. I can do nothing to effect any change in them and am completely powerless but for prayer. So do I mull them over, meditate on them, or think how much nicer things would be if these obstacles or hurts were not part of my life? No. Instead I try to remember to pray for wisdom in dealing with them, grace to show God's love and forgiveness when I have none left to give, and thank God that even when I can't see His plan and purpose, I can trust Him.
Which brings me to the final bit of wisdom I have on the subject of worry and prayer. My heart's attitude gets an adjustment when I take time to praise God for who He is and what He does in my life. There might be this seemingly massive blockade in my life but it pales in comparison to the gift He gave me of His Son dying on the cross, or of the family He has blessed me with, the children that crowd me in the bed on Saturday mornings, or the godly girlfriends He has bestowed me with. I can thank and praise Him for all those and many more. This morning I thanked Him for the sun being out because living in the north, the cold, and the dark is no fun. At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna - there is always something to praise God for.