Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Stranglehold of Worry

I saw a picture of a young celebrity on television the other day. She is only in her mid-twenties but looks much older than her years. Her face has been hardened by surgical intervention, botox (I imagine), and rough living.   I thought it was a shame to see someone so young look as though she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. 


I see other women who appear to also be carrying a heavy load on their shoulders. I can see it in their faces too; the lines of worry and fear have etched their way deep into the softness of their cheeks and foreheads.  There is so much fear and worry in our lives today! The financial picture for many families continues to get darker, prices keep going up, income is unsure beyond the money you have in your pocket.  


We are fed stories of impending doom and ruin all day long from all forms of media; and add into the mix the statistics about sickness and disease of one form or another and we have ourselves a hot mess of anxiety. 


I could focus on a number of areas of fear, worry, and anxiety; but today I am going to aim at what seems to be an obsession with health and youth for many women: women have become very fearful of growing old and looking their age. 


Before I go further, I will get the log out of my own eye:  I am not wild about getting old, I color my hair because I don't want to be grey, I eat carefully to hold off the effects of aging and illness, and I walk 30 minutes in the mornings (when it is not bad weather) because it is good for my legs. I would consider those reasonable things to do, and those are not the kinds of things I have in mind to talk about today. 


What concerns me is the absolute obsession I have seen develop in women regarding health and vitamins and holistic living. 


Jesus said, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." Luke 12:22-23 (NASB) 


When Jesus speaks about worrying, He is referring to the amount of time a person spends focusing on something in an obsessive manner. It occupies their thoughts a large amount of time, and "How I feel," "How I look" and "What is wrong with me" becomes the focus in life. This kind of thinking truly does have a stranglehold over many Christian women today. They are wasting precious hours ruminating on what ails them and how they feel, and throwing precious dollars away on doctor after doctor only to walk away frustrated after being told there is nothing wrong with them. 


I am not saying don't get check-ups or go ahead and throw common sense to the wind and eat as you please. We have been given stewardship over our physical body and it is right that we take care of it as the temple of the Holy Spirit. The body is a vessel to be used for the intended ministry of God. 


What I am saying that there is far too much emphasis being placed on the physical life and the mis-belief that you can add one minute or day to your life through organic food and vitamins.  


“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?" Luke 12:25 (NASB) 


Health and longevity of life have become an idol to many women today. For some, it is because they do not understand God.  God always completes His plans for the days of our lives and it is important to realize that we cannot prolong or shorten the appointed day of our death. For others it is the belief that they can somehow control the outcome, and alter God's plan and the timing of their own demise. 


This world is not our home, and we are not intended to build our hopes and dreams upon what it has to offer us. This world is a lay-over as we wait to be called to the final part of the journey- heaven!  Jesus is teaching us that our time here is to be spent in greater pursuits than personal health and being a display for some designer clothes. We have a purpose here, and we can trust that God will keep us here long enough to fulfill it. He is a faithful God. 


Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3 (NASB) 


The focus of the Christian woman is to be on Christ during her time here on earth. The precious hours of the day are to be used to further the gospel and seeking things above, not things of vanity. We are to seek to honor Christ and in so doing we will empty ourselves of selfish desires and idolatry of heart. We will become passionate about what God is passionate about- the eternal things that will affect the souls of others. This is our calling, this is our quest- proclaiming Christ. 

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