It never ceases to amaze me the things people post on Facebook:
“I am so stressed out, and my entire life is falling apart. What makes it worse is that I’m worried all the time — almost sick with worry — and this must mean there’s something wrong with my spirituality and faith!”
Which also means, you don’t have to tell me, that God won’t listen to your prayers — and you really need Him listening right now, don’t you? — because you don’t have enough faith.
My dear friend, you are beating yourself up unnecessarily.
1) First of all, the Facebook thing. I am so sorry that you are hurting, but I’m not sure it makes things better that random strangers — like me — are reading about it. But if it makes you feel better, don’t stop. Please, just please, do not make death announcements of people you barely know, especially when the family hasn’t posted anything yet.
2) Faith is not something you, or I, are required to generate from inside ourselves, in order to please God. Ephesians 2:8 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.”
If the faith and grace needed to secure your salvation didn’t originate in your efforts, why will the continued faith that you need to keep walking each day now be a requirement that you alone must supply?
3) You’re hurting so much that you can’t eat, sleep, or get your heart rate down. You don’t need to add to this by bashing your spirituality — which means, what, by the way? If it’s your relationship with God, this isn’t something that you can set asunder.
Jesus says in John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
I always told my kids: “That includes you — you can’t snatch yourself, or jump, out of His hand.”
And while we can get into a lively discussion about the permanence or non-permanence of salvation, depending upon how really really bad we are, the issue here isn’t our being really really bad — it’s that we’re worrying.
Which leads to the next question: Is worry a sin?
And the counter question: Does that really matter, right now?
You’re worried, you’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re discouraged — and you’re not alone. If worry is a sin, then King David sinned a lot more than the whole Bathsheba incident, because the Psalms are filled with sentences like this:
“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:2)
“I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Psalm 69:3)
“For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like the grass; I forget to eat my food.” (Psalm 102)
Worry, fear, anxiety — these are part of our human existence, and sometimes they overwhelm us. If you are at that state, please do not make things worse by attacking yourself for your inadequacies. You are inadequate — we all are. Only God is fully capable of caring for our needs, and He does this in the oddest ways, at the oddest times.
He loves you, He cares for you, He hears your cry, and He will never leave you or forsake you. Bask in that.
Carolyn Henderson writes about contemporary Christianity, family life, and financial health in her blog, This Woman Writes. The co-owner of Steve Henderson Fine Art, Carolyn is the author of Live Happily on Less — Renovate Your Life and Lifestyle, a commonsense guide to real, regular people on how to live with the resources that they have, and not worry while they’re doing it.