Choosing Peace Over Worry

Hurried. Anxious. Distracted and easily irritated. This was my morning. And then there was lunch.  

I reasoned that I would not leave the office for lunch. 2 minutes and 15 seconds for the zapping. 10 minutes to eat. 10 minutes for personal emails. Back at work. This was the plan.  

2 minutes and 5 seconds. Sufficiently zapped and I began to eat. Hurried. Anxious. Easily irritated and distracted. 8 minutes remaining to eat but something (Someone) wouldn’t let me enjoy the frenzied lunch indoors. A familiar voice extended an invitation for me to venture outdoors and enjoy some sun. Not today I challenged. Too much to do. Not enough time.   

“Bring it with you,” was the response. But what about those emails. That report. That deadline.

“Bring it with you.”

6 minutes 49 seconds. Reluctantly, I packed up the lunch, quickly and headed out of the office. Hurried. Anxious. Irritated by the thought of a delayed elevator. Distracted.      

Brisk. Sunny. Tomorrow there will be too much to do. That half-written email. Lush. Reds and Yellows. Okay. I have 4 more minutes to wrap this up. Too much to do.  

“What about lunch outdoors?”  

No way. No time for that. What about that half written email? And the looming deadline. 

The hurry returned to my step and as I considered racing through lunch. There it (He) was again. That gentle and lowly voice which led me outdoors reminding me that I was not alone.  

“You have all you need to do no more than what is needed for this day. Trust me.”  

Lush. Greenest greens than I’d seen all month and the most golden yellow I’ll see all year. I sat. Thanked God and heard that same voice more clearly than ever, “It’s not about lunch. It’s about my kingdom.”  

God has helped me to discover that the kingdom is experienced each moment we move beyond our fallenness to experience his best for our lives. It breaks God’s heart each time we chose anything less. Whether the choice, which may seem insignificant, is to eat lunch in a frenzy of worry or look outside of God’s provision to have our emotional, relational, financial or material needs met, God cares about what we choose.  He cares so much that he gives us a counselor to help us make decisions - big and small (John 14:16).   

After enjoying lunch outdoors, I returned to work greeted by a number of half-written emails and an additional assignment that only lengthened my list of to dos. However, unlike the hurry, anxiety, and distraction of my morning, God’s counsel allowed me to refocus and complete not all I intended for that day, but certainly all I needed. I left work that evening sure that taking lunch outdoors allowed me to experience his kingdom that day. Peace, contentment and the expectation that he would again help me the next day, accompanying me on my commute home.

What has he invited you to do today to experience his best for you? To whom or what must you say, “No” to so that you can say, “Yes” to him and his kingdom?  Do you struggle with anxiety? I look forward to sharing more about how God has helped me to overcome anxiety but here is where we begin:

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.
Israel (insert your name here), put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore. – Psalm 131 (NIV); italicized text mine

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:9b-13 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Prayer: Father, You are matchless. You are holy. You are good and You are kind. Forgive me for rejecting your peace. Forgive me for worrying which you command me not to. Forgive me for trying to figure out my life. Today is the day you have made. I choose to rejoice in it. I choose your best, your kingdom, for this day. Your kingdom come and stay in my mind, motives, heart and actions.

Whether I have a paper to complete, a test for which to study, a sporting match or practice for which to prepare, chores to begin or a friendship to mend, I choose to allow your kind voice to be my guide. Neither my feelings nor my untrustworthy inner voice of criticism and regret will direct me. My regrets from yesterday and my fears of what tomorrow will bring are no match for your grace. Today is the day you have made. I have not made it therefore I have no idea what may come. You made it; therefore, you know what is best. I am excited and grateful for what you have in store. Surely whether good or bad in my sight you are working GOOD out of all things as I continue to choose to love you (Romans 8:28). Thank you for hearing this prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Resource: Check out this terrific "lab" of clear, practical steps to choose peace over anxiety through prayer provided by Desiring God!

Amelia E. Thompson loves to see God create possibility out of what appears to be impossible. She became a Christian during her sophomore year in college. She and friends developed We Write Life into a platform for building community around issues of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness. Thanks to God’s guidance and kindness, she completed studies at Vassar College and St. John’s University and is completing a certificate in Youth and Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.