Fine Lines: Worry vs Concern

Fine Lines cover photoWelcome to Fine Lines, where today we’ll visit the Worry Ward – home of chronic worriers no matter where you live.

First the kitchen where “stew” is a regular item on the menu. There is a fine line between hovering over that mental pot of “stew” stirring it ’round and ’round versus recognizing a concern is present and taking it to the One who can do something about it. It makes all the difference when we stop stirring that stew, let go our grip, and place the spoon in His hand.

The point? Step away from the stove.

It’s the issue Jesus was getting at in the story of Mary and Martha. He loved them both; He wanted deep relationship with them both; and if necessary, He knew how to make lunch with some bread and fish. He actually had more help to offer Martha than what her sister’s two hands could whip up.

John 11:5 tells us that Jesus “loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” I find it interesting that Martha is named. It’s not a matter of Jesus loving Mary more than Martha or loving the faith warrior more than the chronic worrier. No, He knew that if Martha would come close to Him as Mary had, He could love the worry right out of her. Jesus addressed Martha’s real need by saying to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good (beneficial) part (participation), which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

Time spent in His presence is never lost time. Instead, it gives a new savor to the next pot of stew.

Next, the dining room where grits of reality is served up on fine china in an effort to disguise the fact that worry is the real entree. You can beautifully garnish, perfectly season, and offer an exquisite presentation of everything but the real concern. Jesus was more interested in what was on the inside of the cup than the spit and polish shine on the outside. Do not let the pride of embarrassment rob you of addressing what is of true concern by trying to hide worry beneath a ladle of expertly whisked gravy.

One time we had a couple over for dinner, one of whom had recently been diagnosed with cancer. We enjoyed a lovely meal where the only thing garnished and seasoned was the food we ate. After the meal we retired to the living room where along with dessert, the real menu of the evening was served. Open conversation was invited, fears were confessed and not glossed over, prayer was entered into, and nearby were the elements of Communion. Where worry threatened, compassionate concern won out. What appears overwhelming to us is small potatoes to our Lord.

Jesus said, Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12:25-26

Last but not least, the bedroom – the place of rest where little rest is to be found for the chronic worrier. The pillow feels like a brick, and fear-motivated worry leaps like little foxes instead of woolly white sheep. Everything looms with glaring vividness in the dark of night for the worrier:

  • a sense of responsibility for a situation or solution;
  • fear of the loss of someone or something;
  • worry that circumstances won’t change or new worry because they have;
  • worry that friends and loved ones will do something or worry that they won’t;
  • worry about the price of tea in China and the price of gas at the neighborhood pump;
  • worry, worry, worry – about anything and everything both close at home and far away …

When the day fades and things quiet down for the night, what do your thoughts give birth to? Worry? Or prayer to hand over your daily concern?

Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be turned into a burden.
Corrie Ten Boom

Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly, not life more burdensome. As He said to Martha a couple thousand years ago, He says to us today –

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
Isaiah 30:15 NASB

We can choose to be willing (consent) to repent of the sin of worry and lean with quietness and trust into His strength. If we do, ongoing repentance and rest will move us out of the Worry Ward.

The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138:8 NASB

If “chew” bones litter your mental backyard like a dog worrying a bone, there is help. I welcome your contact.

~ Nancy

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  1. Excellent; very well written! I like the way that you personalize your thoughts and scriptualize your words together, Nancy. Mary

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