I asked my three year old what he wanted to do for a job when he was a grown up. He said he wanted to drive a racing car. And his face when he said this – overjoyed with excitement and anticipation. In his mind there is no reason whatsoever why this should not come to pass; it’s all very simple – you want to do something, you grow up and you do it. In other news, we were burgled a couple of nights ago and the grownups’ days have been filled with police visits, insurance calls and tears over our lost possessions. At one point after having told the story for the hundreth time to try and make it less surreal I looked down at the boy, who was in his usual position – happy, lying down on the floor making up games with his cars. I thought out loud, “Oh to be 3 again, life is so simple!”. (Or at least it should be, and my heart breaks for those where that isn’t the case). Everything arrives in front of you when its needed, you spend all day playing and pretty much all worries and sadness you have can be fixed by mummy or daddy.
So when does it all get more serious? When do we start to worry?
There’s a lot to worry about in grownup life. Your children (babies or grown ups), your health, your job security, money, the future. We have no idea how life is going to pan out. We hope and we plan, but there are always a whole load of unknowns that will always be out of our control – and that can be a bit scary. Or a lot scary. And before we know it we’re filled with fear about the future instead of the naive excitement we had when we were kids.
Peace, that’s what we need. It says a lot in the bible about peace, and sometimes it feels like we ask God for it, but it doesn’t come. There’s one verse in particular I’ve come to love, which says
“Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus”. Philippians 4:6-7
So we have a part to play in the whole peace thing. It’s not a trance that we go into where by we have nothing to worry about more. But it’s something that comes when we actively stop worrying. That isn’t to say the worry thoughts will suddenly stop coming to our minds, because that is the most natural reaction we have to anything negative, like bad news. But it’s what we do with the thought when it pops up. And it’s not about telling yourself there’s nothing to worry about, or forcing a more positive reaction. It’s about talking to God about it. Turning into a prayer. Acknowledging that we’re small and can’t fix anything on our own, and that God is big, and gives us everything we need. Then the bit of God that lives inside us, his spirit touching ours, makes us still.
I have experienced this peace. I don’t always get it, because I don’t always turn my worry thoughts into prayers. But when I do, you can’t beat it. I still need my friends and family to talk stuff through with, and I still need to cry on the odd (or regular!) occasion, but at the core of me I know, I just know, that God “knows us far better than we know ourselves, and that’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:27-28.
So, if you are tired of the worrying, and trying to change the bad situations you might face just isn’t working, then give it a go. When a worry thought comes into your mind, talk to God about it, tell him exactly how you feel. Then in the same way that a hug from your mum when you were 3 made you feel better, the God of the universe will give you this peace that we all crave – that feeling that we know everything will be alright in the end.