Worry is my sin. That sin I so long to rid myself of, yet find myself battling daily. I can justify it, yet there is no justification. I can condemn myself, yet there is no condemnation. Like Paul of scripture, I ask myself, I ask God, “Why do I do the things I do not want to do?” It is the nature of our lives. We all have that sin-the one that becomes our daily struggle.
As I seek to slay the worry dragon I have come to realize simplicity is the key. For those of us to whom much has been given, much is expected. Yet along with the much, are things, mindsets that cause us to stumble in our faith. With good upbringing, strong family ties, come expectations. We are pushed and we drive ourselves to exceed the financial status of our parents, to exceed the educational levels of our family ancestors, to go beyond, do better. We call it the American Dream. Yet, all of that places our mind, our focus upon achievements and things. Maybe it is my age, maybe it is wisdom gained with age, but whatever the cause, I find myself desiring to do less, be less. I’d like to return to the days of my forefathers. Days of gardening, hands stained by dirt, body aching and tired at night. Days of family gatherings crowded into small, quaint homes. Days of giving beyond means and ensuring family and neighbors have plenty. The simpler life. Not an easier life, but a less complicated life. A life in which things could not take hold, because things were not aplenty.
My scripture reading this morning was in Matthew. The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. If one read only those passages, one would understand who Christ is and how as Christians we are to live. It becomes clear the weapon for worry is simplicity. In the midst of the abundance around me, the busyness, the striving, the rush to carry out good deeds in the “spirit of Christmas giving”, God speaks to me yet again through the women I hold dear at Christian Women’s Job Corps. Women who live a simple life, yet lives complicated by messy families, consequences of poor choices, health issues…
They can not undo their past. None of us can. Many of them born into pasts they could not control, inheriting trouble they never asked for/deserved. Most hurt as children, used as adolescents, and exposed as adults. Difference circumstances, different hurts, different lives, yet one thing in common. Each making the decision, finding the resolve to choose to do something different. Each choosing Christian Women’s Job Corps. Each seeking to learn about Christ, put Him first. Each finding joy in walking away from the complicated towards the simple.
One has walked away from all she owns/had: home, belongings, man. She has faithfully come soaking up the teachings of the pastors during morning devotion, the words of scripture during Bible study, the life skills taught by women whose lives have been easier than hers. She has rejoiced weekly in the smallest of victories. She has taken every word taught and believed it. She has professed and proclaimed scripture in the midst of battle, believing it would drive Satan out. She has accepted help with graciousness and humility. She has found a new home, new friends, new life. Things, accomplishments, are of consequence. She has no bed, yet shares with all how well she is sleeping. She has humble means, yet can’t wait to share. She has seen God provide. She does not worry for her future. She trusts. She trusts Him, the Great Provider, the Healer, the Lord of Lords.
I am humbled when in her presence. And as I sit in my abundance, clinging to my worry, I am convicted by her life and His words in Matthew. The words come alive through her story. Simplicity. It is in the being, the service done in “the secret place”, the honesty, the letting go, the living life together. Simplicity slays the worry dragon. Her days are filled with trouble, enough trouble to fill a lifetime. She takes each day as it comes, too many troubles to worry about tomorrow. “Sufficient for the day it its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 NIV She lives the scripture. I long to live the scripture yet my demons are a complicated life, full of too much. The too much brings the worry, the striving, the lack of faith. God brings her into my life, not that I may serve, but that we both might be served. We love one another, we teach one another. I share my abundance, she teaches me out of her lack-lack of things, lack of knowledge. We experience Him. We experience true worship. We find each other. We find ourselves. In that place, He finds us, we hear Him and know His presence.