Choking on Worry

 In Catalyst

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Have you ever seen someone choking? It’s a scary moment.  Years ago, some friends’ child choked on a hot dog as a baby – they didn’t know he couldn’t breathe until he was turning blue!

It’s the same way with worry.  In fact, our English word comes from the Old English wyrgen which means to strangle or choke. Worries strangle us. In Paul’s next verse, he tells us to “…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.(Philippians 4:8, NLT)

That’s how life should be! When those wonderful, happy, helpful thoughts are foremost in our minds, it’s like having a free airway to our lungs. We can take deep, full breaths. We can relax. We can be at peace.  But worry comes in like a bit of hot dog – blocks the airway, and shuts off the oxygen. Worry’ll kill us.

And there are SO many things to worry about…so many things that will strangle us! Money, economy, politics, terrorists, marriage, kids, job.  [take deep breath]

I was reminded of this last night.  My wife was teaching VBS children (and me!) about Mary and Martha and giving our worries to God.  We had the kids fill out a “worry thermometer” – to gauge the level of their worries.  They were to color the things they worry about in red.  Beautiful little children…there was WAY too much red!

Then my wife had them write “Jesus” atop the page – to remind them who can take their worries – hold it to their hearts – and we prayed.

I’m going to do that for you now: “Jesus, thank you that you call the weary and burdened…and the worried.  I ask you to take the worries from us, help us trust you more, and open up our spiritual and emotional airways so we can breathe!  We need your peace to guard our hearts and minds.  Thank you, Jesus, for caring about us! Amen.