I spend much of my day worrying. Worrying about my children; worrying about my husband; worrying about work; worrying about not having washed the dishes; worrying about the state of the world, the country I live in and the political situation and how it affects me and my family.
I need to look at the bigger picture and realise that it is not just about me.
Sometimes all I need to do is ask for help. Sometimes I just need to stop! Sometimes I just need to pray. Sometimes I forget that there is something bigger than me, something out there that can help me and protect me, guide me and will take on all those things that I worry about – The Lord.
When our family worships together, one of our all time favourite hymns is “Seek Ye First”. The third verse has some poingnant words from Matthew 7:7:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
It has been a huge lesson for me to see that exactly what I need is to stop, pray and ask the Lord for help.
It is also a good example to set to our children every time they are having trouble, to turn to the Lord. Our eldest daughter is a worrier too, and she was open about it recently with me. I realised that the solution was straight forward. I was able to give her the tools to be able to deal with it. And that tool is to turn to the Lord and be together and pray. There is another bible quote from Matthew 6:6-8 that I love:
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
It is reassuring to know that the Lord knows what we need and that sometimes we are not listening. He opens the door, but we are the ones that have to step through it. We ask but don’t always want to hear the answer.
It comes down to trust, good communication and in my case good organisation. I know that I could help myself sometimes by just writing down my To Do list the night before and ticking things off as I do them. I have often asked for guidance in my prayers and each time the answer is the same: I know what I need to do. So now rather than setting the intention to do it, I need to put it into action and trust the Lord to support and guide me.
I remember a sermon about the Lord’s Prayer from a few years ago, talking about this exact subject, Asking for Help. Often we as humans believe that we are in control and that we don’t need help. I have been there many times. Then when we do ask for help, we are asking only for help with a specific part of our lives. But that is not how it works: “Thy will be done” tells us that the Lord is in control of everything. Not just the parts we want to have help with.
I think a lot in my introspective moments about issues that come up in my relationships with other people in my sphere of influence. I often stop to wonder what is it in me that is irritated by a certain trait or thing they are doing, and then ask for help in prayer or meditational space. I put it back on me – I want to know what I need to learn from any given situation and one thing I learned recently from an interaction was that I don’t ask for help often enough when I am struggling. It has been staring me in the face for a while. It took a few different people and interactions to begin to feel that I had been asking but not waiting to hear the answer!
Asking for help has a great deal of meaning to me personally. I was born in Scotland and raised in the Church of Scotland. I was taught in Sunday School to believe and trust but not to ask questions. This seemed illogical to me. Surely the Lord would be happy for me to be engaged and want to know more. Perhaps I just didn’t have a Sunday School Teacher who knew the answers to my questions and didn’t know how to guide me in the right direction.
That is why I wandered in the darkness for many years, quite lost and afraid. Every night I always looked to the stars and prayed, even when I wasn’t sure whether He was there. It was only after I married Gary and was introduced to the New Church that I understood that God doesn’t make bad things happen. He is a loving God that allows freedom of choice: bad things happen because that’s the way the world works for the humans who have choice in it. However, He is there, even in the darkest of times, holding our hand and guiding us even though we may not feel his presense.
There is a beautiful poem by Mary Stevenson called “Footsteps in the Sand” that I heard once at a memorial service, which has stayed with me ever since and serves as a reminder that the Lord is always with us:
One night I dreamed a dream. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. ”Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”
I often have to remind myself to ask for help from the Lord and that my burden will be lessened in doing so. So why do I keep thinking I can do it all on my own? That I will survive… I don’t want that for myself or my children.
I was reminded recently by my husband that there is more joy in giving than receiving and that life is not about me but that it is about others and the less I focus on the world revolving around me the happier I will be and the less I will worry because the Lord will provide.
Asking for help is asking for help from the Lord. I ask to be the best person I can be and ask for Love and Wisdom from the Lord to help others. In doing so, I have come to realise that life is less about me and more about others and this means that I worry less.