For the past couple of weeks, I have been encouraging you to slow down and rest a little. You know…to take a break…to relax and enjoy the summer.
I hope you have been able to do this.
How did you do this week? Were you able to find time to rest and sit in His presence?
I struggled with finding time this week, but at the end of a couple of days, as I played in bed, the Lord and I had a chat. We worked through a couple of tough things, and that was it.
You might be in a season of busyness as well. Schools are gearing up to return in early August (at least in some parts of the United States). Kids are seeing the fading rays of their summer break and are revolting.
Parents might secretly wish school would start sooner so they can get a break and exhale as the whirlwind continues.
Today, we close our Beach Days series with a look at seeking first the kingdom of heaven.
Busyness and Worry
In Max Lucado’s book, Less Fret, More Faith, he says,
“In a given year nearly fifty million Americans will feel the effects of a panic attack, phobias, or other anxiety disorders.”1
He further says,
“The United States is now the most anxious nation in the world.(Congratulations to us!) The land of the Stars and Stripes has become the country of stress and strife.”2
We live in the fast lane, and it is starting to catch up. As we have shared over the last couple of weeks, God never intended us to ride the redline.
When anxiety, busyness, and worry plague our lives, we must slow down and reframe our lives. We need to hit pause and ask God for His grace and mercy to help us cut out the noise and hear His sweet, still voice.
How can we cut through the noise?
In Matthew 6:33, the author says,
“Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.”3
Jesus loved people, but they didn’t always pick up what He was putting down. He shared revolutionary ideas through parables, and Matthew has been documenting Jesus’ voice sharing about giving, prayer, worship, and a host of other things.
By the time Jesus gets to verse 33, He has shared with the people how to live a worry-free life (or at least attempt to).
In our fast-paced lives, Jesus is telling us the same thing He told those who were hearing it on a hillside or along the side of the road,
“Seek first God’s kingdom…then all your other needs will be met.”4
When we slow down, we invite God’s kingdom to come and be a part of us, to dwell within us. We need shelter, food, and community, but these things are secondary to a life devoted to God.
Slowing down…challenges us to hear His still, small voice when not if we need it.
Worry Be Gone
Jesus continues in Matthew 6:34, saying,
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”5
Worry can crush us. Anxiety can overwhelm us. When we take our eyes off of the Lord, we drown.
What can we gain by worrying except heartache, stomach ulcers, heart issues, and sleepless nights? The Lord is saying to us (rather sternly, I might add), what is the benefit of worrying?
You can’t change anything by worrying. You can’t roll the clock forwards, and you can’t reset the past, so why worry.
Each day is unto itself. The past is behind us, and the future is in front of us. The Lord asks us to lay our worry and anxiety in His hands and rest awhile.
Each day, He asks us to slow down, pause, and lay our anxiety, busyness, and worry at the foot of the cross.
It is an act of surrender on our part, which is why He asks us to seek Him first and commit our day to the Lord.
Encouragement and Challenge
Each week, I have given you a challenge for the week. The first week was carving out a Sabbath rest. Last week, it was finding time to sit in the presence of the Lord and be.
This week, I want to encourage and challenge you to begin each day with a 30-second prayer.
Lord, please help me to lay my worry, anxiety, and busyness at the foot of the cross. I am stressed about this situation or what I have to do today. Please help me release it to you.
That’s it. Will you take this challenge upon you – I hope you will.
Lord, thank you for Your grace, mercy, and love that guides us towards living a life free from worry, anxiety, and busyness. Please help us to lay our stresses and burdens at the foot of the cross today. Amen!
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- Less Fret, More Faith (Max Lucado) page viii ↩︎
- Less Fret, More Faith (Max Lucado) page ix ↩︎
- Matthew 6:33 ↩︎
- Matthew 6:33 ↩︎
- Matthew 6:34 ↩︎
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