Since I was young, I began each year setting New Year’s resolutions. The problem was that way too soon I would quit focusing on that resolution and didn’t even remember what I had set for that year. It became just a routine that had no meaning in my life.
This year I decided that I was not going to set a New Year’s resolution, but instead it was going to be my “New Month resolutions.” Since then, I’ve every month set an exciting new goal to establish a dream that I daily focus on.
This has involved goals such as spending great quality time with my kids and grandkids, serious planning of my finances for the future and leading a Bible study to encourage senior adults at a local retirement home, among other things.
My recent “New Month resolution” inspired me as I decided I needed to not let worry absorb my daily life. I became aware that worry brought concerns that pulled me down. Right then, I read powerful Bible verses that told me to not worry but to pray — and then I would have joy.
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“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
It meant so much to me to know that the Apostle Paul wrote these words during his imprisonment. He was offering us a powerful alternative to all our worries and concerns telling us about a joy that does not depend on external circumstances. Instead it is rooted in Jesus, our ultimate peace-giver who loves us and cares for us.
I have discovered that worry is the greatest thief of joy and I can’t just tell myself to “quit worrying.” I must go to my true source of joy, knowing that I can simply talk to Jesus as my friend and my loving Heavenly Father.
I’ve taken this into my heart knowing there is an alternative to my worries and concerns. Every day in countless ways I can present concerns whether small or great to him.
Prayer isn’t just a chat with a do-nothing God. Through prayer we can be totally confident knowing that God hears us and he cares.
I must go to my loving Heavenly Father in prayer knowing he is capable of handling anything I bring. I also must daily remember that there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. If my request is wrong, God says, “No.” If my timing is wrong, God says, “Slow.” If I am wrong, God says, “Grow.” If my request is right, God says, “Go.”
Yes, my resolution for the rest of my life is “Don’t worry, just take everything to God!”
— Rev. Marty Armstrong is a former pastor of Cathedral of Joy in Richland, now assisting senior adults in relocation. Questions should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.