It’s funny to me how anxious I can be about 1st world problems. For instance . . . remodeling the house. I have a house. I have the time and the funds to remodel. Yet, I get stressed about it. Granted, there is a huge amount of research and decision-making to be done. (There’s a 1st world problem for you—too many options.) I have to take into consideration long-term and short-term plans, but really? Back and neck aching anxiety?
You may or may not know that I hate doing the budget, accounting, and taxes type work. I’m not a numbers person. I’m a words person. But I have money in the bank, the bills paid, systems in place and flexibility. We’ve never once lacked. Yet, I lay awake at night dreading dealing with the monthly statement.
I’ve tried telling myself not to worry. I’ve pointed out the 1st worldness of my problems. This hasn’t helped. When I lay awake at night or I wake up early and my back and neck start hurting (my high-stress indicator) only one thing really helps: prayer.
This isn’t some mystical magical sense of peace. This is a careful thinking about life in an offering to the Lord. Prayer is the process, the earthly process, by which we mentally align ourselves with the will of God. It’s where we wrestle within ourselves before and sometimes with God submitting ourselves to his commandments. God encourages us to pray about our daily needs, the wrongs we’ve suffered, and the temptations we’ve faced. By praying through them, we are reminded that God sees and cares about all our needs, that we must forgive as we have been forgiven, and we’re armed to face our temptations head on with the truth. For years, I didn’t do this consistently. I didn’t bring my everyday fears and worries before the Lord in an honest evaluation that would have helped me see I was being fearful and worried. I didn’t ask for wisdom. I didn’t face my temptation to be lazy and procrastinate when I don’t want to do something. Then by God’s kind grace, my Dad preached through the Lord’s Prayer and convicted, I started praying through my every day, humble, quiet life very specifically.
See, Jesus didn’t say only pray about really big or spiritual things. He did teach us to pray for the spreading of the gospel, but he also taught us to pray for all the little things in life, like bread, forgiving each other, and the temptations we face. I think I never really thought about praying over the budget cause it’s so mundane. But, isn’t daily bread mundane?
I pray through my and my churches daily, earthly needs. I pray that we would humbly forgive each other’s big and little wrongs as we have been forgiven. I pray that we would have strength in big and little temptations, sufferings, and trials. There are sins we wrestle with and anxiety is one of them for me. So I started praying about all the things I’m anxious about, asking for forgiveness, repenting of my lack of trust, my unbelief, and asking for wisdom.
Being very specific and honest has helped my anxiety because it’s reminded me to cling to the truth, not my perception. It’s calmed my heart because I know all this is from the Lord. God is so kind and gentle to us. I love to see the wisdom of God. He teaches us to pray, not because He doesn’t know everything, but because we need to voice what we need. It helps us!
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my normal schedule was all un-normal and I didn’t keep my normal prayer time. Lo and behold, I woke up one morning worried, literally in pain in my neck and shoulders about nothing. Nothing. I’m fretting over storage space as we rearrange my husband’s office and guest room. Really?
What I realized was that pain was really proof of a bigger problem: the problem of not starting my day, continuing my day, and ending my day in an aligning of my heart and mind with the Lord in prayer. I wasn’t casting my care on him. I wasn’t remembering his promises, and I wasn’t trusting him. I had tunnel visions for the trials of life and needed an adjustment. Prayer is a vital part of my life. Without it, I have physical problems pointing to Spiritual problems. But God is good and has given me the preaching and teaching of his Word by faithful men so I can be reminded to pray even and most especially about my 1st world problems.