Since I seem to be in a season of reading (v. writing – see this post), you will be the recipient of yet another quote. My mom actually sent this to me. As a perpetual worry-er, I find this such a sweet reminder of the God in whom I trust:
When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worrying to watching. You watch God weave His patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God’s drama. As you wait, you begin to see Him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder. You are learning to trust again.
(from Paul Miller’s excellent book on prayer, “A Praying Life“)
So how do I know if I am worrying or watching? I am anxiously trying to manage every detail of my out-of-control life when I am worrying, in contrast to working diligently on what’s set before me today and praying about the details that concern me. And then restfully waiting (watching) to see how God will work out the details that I am tempted to obsess about. [The obsession itself is quite fruitless — as Jesus speaks about in Luke’s gospel: “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?”]
When I am worrying, I am more concerned about me and less concerned about others. When I am watchful, I am eager to see God write my own story as well as weave together my friends’ stories. Worry shrinks my world to the size of me; being watchful expands my vision in proportion to the world-wide scope of God’s Kingdom. Worry means I am reading the Bible with unbelief and cynicism (if I am reading the Bible at all). When I am watchful with wonder, I read the Bible believing that these words and these stories and these promises are extremely relevant to my life today — and will actually assist me in making sense of the present and trusting God for the future.
And, as Paul Miller highlights in this quote, when I am worrying I am almost never praying. When I am praying, I will be watchful – trusting my Father who is good and faithful to take care of what concerns me.
One thought on “Worrying or watching?”
Heather, I am right there with you…even down to A Praying Life. It is an excellent book and has been tremendously encouraging to me.