Seek first His kingdom.
Jesus’ words in Luke 12 struck me as I read them this past week. You may recognize the passage, often labeled “The Cure for Anxiety.” Do not worry, do not be anxious. God will provide.
The way The Message paraphrases* verses 22-32 really hits home for me.
For life is more than food and the body more than clothing… Seek first His kingdom.
That sounds great and all, but do I live my life like that? Do I believe this to be true?
I’m working on it, but it can definitely be a struggle for me.
We’re not born worrying. We’re not born fussing about the things of life, afraid that we won’t be provided for. When do we go from trusting to thinking that we have to figure everything out for ourselves? When does this shift happen in our lives?
During my week at camp this summer, I learned a lot from the 15-year-old girls in my cabin. Yes, these girls had worries and anxiety. They worried about the things most high schoolers worry about: grades, sports, boys, college, the future. I could relate to them in that way.
But there was something different about them. These girls had just finished their freshman year of high school. They’d experienced more adult situations and more pressure than I ever did at their age, and yet, they still had this untouched quality about them. A childlike faith.
They believed, and they trusted.
The place where I noticed this the most might surprise you.
Whenever we went to the cafeteria, I noticed a difference between these girls and some of the adult leaders. The girls weren’t worried about the quality of the food prepared, the calories consumed, or the nutritional content of what they were eating. They ate what was provided for them, recognizing we were only at camp for a week and if that meant eating a PB&J sandwich every day at lunch, then so be it.
Meals at the adult table tended to look a bit different. Complaints over the taste of the food. Concern over eating too much fat or carbs or sugar. The decision to eat a meal separate from what was provided in order to stick to a diet or disordered eating habits, or to quiet the fear of consuming whatever food had been provided.
Eventually I ate all my meals with my high school girls. I wanted their ease; I didn’t want to “fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes.” To do so would have been a waste of energy and brain space.
Yet we do the exact same thing in life.
We let fear hold us captive.
We complain, we fret, and we stress. We fail to trust God with our day-to-day. We think we know what’s best, and we like to be in charge.
The camp cafeteria is one small example of how fear and worry can lead us astray.
Please don’t interpret this as me saying that you should not eat healthy or that you should not spend any time thinking about what to serve for dinner. Steward the physical body you’ve been given well. But remember that it’s temporal. We cannot control all of our health outcomes by the food we eat—just like we cannot control our life outcomes solely by our five-year plan.
Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all?
Has worrying about your bank account caused it to increase? Has worrying about your next job willed it to happen? Has worrying about your singleness made a husband or wife fall into your lap?
When I'm stressed about whether I've eaten "healthy," when I'm worried about what my body looks like, when I'm fearful about the amount in my savings account, when I'm anxious about next steps in my career—my first instinct is to figure it out myself. To put a plan of action into place and see to it that my way comes to fruition.
I'm learning to say instead, "God, thy will be done." His will, not mine.
And it's a process. I want to trust myself first. The root of my fear and worry is pride. Heck, the root of every sin is pride. As a certified worrywart, that's something I've had to come to terms with recently. My worry is a lack of trust. It's relying more on myself than on God.
It's believing I can be perfect, and I can check off every box, rather than me choosing to serve the only One who is perfect.
But God reminds me to look at how the wildflowers grow. They don’t labor or toil. He knows what the flowers need. How much more will He do for you and me?
I’m praying for a childlike faith—a craving for the pure spiritual milk of the Word and growth into the woman God wants me to be. The more time I spend talking to God and reading what He has to say, the more I see what really matters—a relationship with Him—and that my worrying about X, Y, or Z doesn’t change a thing.
Look to the wildflowers, friend. Look to the wildflowers and trust.
*Please note: I called The Message version of the Bible a paraphrase because that’s really what it is. I like it, and I’ve used it many times. I think it can be a useful tool to understand the Bible in today’s context. It’s also great way to get started reading the Bible.
My bit of advice is that you don’t let it be your only exposure to God’s Word. Utilize commentaries and study Bibles, but first, take God’s Word on its own and soak it up. Think about how it applies to you, rather than automatically asking someone or something else how it should apply.
Looking for a solid Bible? I am a big fan of the new She Reads Truth Bible, which is the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) version, one that scores high on both readability and accuracy. Not to mention it’s the most beautiful Bible I’ve ever seen! With maps, charts, and reading plans, it’s well worth the $40 price tag.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.