One night last week I was working in my flower beds trying to remove the weeds of shame that I allowed to grow wild last year. The past year proved to be difficult in a lot of ways, and at some point the weeds no longer mattered. Of course, now I’m paying the price trying to rescue many of my plants from the grips of weeds past. While pulling and sweating – sweating and pulling, I heard the gentle sigh of a four-year-old.
She, my daughter, had been princess-twirling for quite sometime, but I did notice that she’d become quiet. I could see her sitting on the porch intently working on something that I knew would come with an imaginative story full of hilarity, so I left her alone. When she snuck up behind me and sighed, I quickly asked her to tell me what she’d been up to. But, the answer, was completely unexpected.
She said, “I’ve been trying to make leaves, but only God can do that”.
I stood there in complete silence staring at the face of my child who just said one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard. All I could mutter was, “What? Um, what were you…Um, I mean, how were you trying to make leaves?” She smiled and said, “I don’t want to talk about it” and skipped away.
I’ve thought about her words over and over and over again. She tried, realized that leaf making was God’s work, skipped away and preached her mama a sermon.
Leaf making is God’s work. I’ve never quite thought of it that way. But, of course it’s God’s work. The mountains, the oceans, the valleys, the deserts, the green pastures and, of course, the leaves…all God’s work.
And, what struck me so deeply about her statement is the simplicity and confidence in her words. She wanted leaves. But, seeing that only God could do that, she went back to princess-twirling without concern for how the leaves would continue to appear and with full confidence in her leaf maker. This hit home with me because I’ve got a few situations weighing heavily on my mind and my heart. I’ve got a few decisions to make and, either way I go, mountain climbing seems to be in my future…figuratively, of course. So, I could use a whole lot of wisdom, a miracle (or two) and a leaf maker or, in my case, a mountain mover. And, while I’d love to tell you that I, like my daughter, react with simple confidence to situations such as this, it’s just not true. All too often I do, well, the exact opposite…I worry.
I’m a chronic worrier of sorts. My family, my career, my home, my dog, the cars and that pesky washing machine that recently started leaking…you name it and I’ll worry about it.
It’s a vicious cycle really. One that twists and turns the “what ifs” of life into massive weights that burden the soul. And, while this is a chronic and oddly natural problem for me, I’ve had this overwhelming stirring deep within that I must stop carrying this weight.
Because that’s what it is…worry…it’s a weight. One that I’ve carried for way too long. Sure, the circumstances change but worry is worry nonetheless. Growing in power and in strength daily, sometimes hourly and sometimes by the minute.
And, while I’d like to tell you that this stirring lead me straight to the Bible, but it was actually more like Pinterest where I read this quote…
“Worry is worshipping the problem” (Toby Mac).
Worshipping the problem. Is that what I’ve been doing? Carrying around an unnecessary weight and worshipping it?
Those are strong words, right? Yes…but it’s true.
Jesus felt strongly about this too. He addressed worry in Matthew 6 telling us basically, well, just to stop it. He put it a lot more eloquently, but for the sake of time and word count I’ll paraphrase this into my short and sweet version.
Hey guys, you can’t add time to your life by worrying. Your Father in Heaven, he’s got this, okay? So, just stop it. He feeds the birds and grows the lilies. He’s got this. He knows what you need. You seek Him and let God work out the details.
In other words, you focus your attention on God, quit worshipping your problems and let God be God. You look to me and let me make the leaves, maybe????
So what does this look like? I mean, how???
In Matthew 11, Jesus paints a picture…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Hold up there, Jesus. So you’re saying that I give you my burdens and you give me rest? Wait, there’s more…
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Side note: I remember my Dad preaching about this when I was a little girl and I thought he said yolk, like egg yolks. I had no idea why Jesus would be asking me to take his eggs, but I just went with it. Thankfully, I later read this passage for myself and realized that Jesus wanted me to take his yoke, not his eggs.
Anyway, back to the scripture. Jesus says come here. Spend time with me. Seek me. Learn from me. I’m gentle, not like that heavy weight you’ve been carrying. I’ll give you rest. Not just little nap, but rest for your soul.
I think this is what the Psalmist meant when he wrote,
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1)
The King James version refers to this shelter as the “secret place”. He who dwells or takes up residence with God will find the secret. The secret place of rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Oh, man! I want that!!!
The Psalmist goes on to describe God as a “refuge” and a “fortress” who rescues and fights our battles.
Are you getting the point? We don’t have to worry, y’all because God, the Almighty, has got this. And, what he wants for you is to rest in that promise.
Although I could use this reminder daily, it seems fitting to release this during Holy Week. A time of remembrance of just who God is and what He does. The One who makes the leaves and The One who sent His son.
See, worry crowds our thoughts and brings confusion to our minds. Stealing our focus and our worship from The One who gave it all. But when we seek God, spend time with Him, learn from Him and remember who He is, we give Him room. Room to work in our lives. Room to fight our battles. Room to work miracles. Room to move mountains and room to receive His rest. Simple, confident rest that comes only from The One who makes the leaves.
***image from http://www.allposters.com