Stay in the Moment

As I was walking my pup the other day in sunny Pennsylvania, I was mulling over life and recent events. My mind wandered to everything from the uncertainty I was feeling about the future to how I would navigate the rest of this road trip with a dog who doesn’t like cars to artificial intelligence and its impact on humans and relationships. As these thoughts went scurrying by in my head, I looked down and saw my dog standing in poison ivy. Not just his muzzle, not just his paw; he was all in. From what I remember, dogs don’t contract poison ivy, but humans can because the oily liquid from the plant can transmit from fur to skin. 

Sheesh! This immediately shifted my focus from worries about the future to an imminent threat right in front of me clothed in fur with a wagging tail. I’ve had poison ivy a few times, and trust me, it is not a pleasant experience. Thankfully, all that needed to happen to mitigate this particular threat was to keep my distance from my furry friend until he could be bathed.

How often do we lose hours to incessant worry about things that have not yet happened or may never happen to us? Or we lose productivity to fighting imagined goliaths that we haven’t been called to fight? I don’t know about you, but I suspect this is something I do more often than I realize.

Stop Worrying!

Stop, just stop. It’s that simple, right? Christians often remind each other to stop worrying and might refer to some of what Jesus said during the Sermon on the Mount: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not your life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25). This particular passage on worry further explains the futility of worry in verse 27, And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Jesus assures us that all of our needs will be provided for when we first seek His kingdom and His righteousness (verse 33). And yet even in knowing this, we often continue to worry, and then admonish ourselves for having so little faith. I know I sometimes do.

Is All Worry Bad?

As I was talking through this thought with a friend, she reminded me that not all worry is bad. For example, it can be good to worry about those we love, especially if they are in difficult or dangerous situations; what matters most is what we do with this emotion and where we bring it. Speaking with friends can sometimes lead to empathy (and possibly even escalation of our worries), “wow! That’s awful. That’s really something you should be worrying about.” Or it could lead to an absent-minded yet well-meaning, “don’t worry. It’ll all be fine” which does not help us understand our feelings. Clearly as in the conversation I had with this particular friend, it is helpful to seek wisdom and insight from those who know us best. But we also remember our emotions are God-given. They have a purpose and provide insight into what’s going on inside of us. The key is to bring them in prayer to the One who knows our hearts and minds best and to seek God’s heart in the situation. It acknowledges God’s position as sovereign and loving Father in our lives and our dependence on Him for all our provision. Bringing our worries to God brings a supernatural peace which enables us to respond in thoughtful and wise action.   

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul clarifies this concept in his letter from prison to the Philippian church. Philippians 4:6-7 is a command and a promise: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Handing our worries over to God allows us to be fully present with Him and with others in the moment as we look for and reflect on His goodness in our lives. 

Peace, Alison

Photo credit: Olivier Le Moal on



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