Every week I talk with pastors, ministry leaders, and all kinds of people trying to make their way through life. Most of them struggle with worry. They stress over their problems and strategize how to solve them. Or they busy themselves with many activities, rushing from thing to thing, trying to do more than they have time for. Or they fear disappointing people and walk on eggshells trying to avoid conflict.
They may go weeks without being still in God’s presence. I used to live that way too.
The voice of God comes to you and to I: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
If it’s hard for you to be still and to enter into soul rest then I urge you to find out why. What is causing you to be anxious? Why do you stay so busy? What is all the noise and activity in your life helping you to avoid? Where is the love, joy, and peace that you long for? And that others need from you?
As a Christian psychologist I’ve spent decades learning about anxiety and treating it for people. Years ago I found freedom from my own anxiety-driven life. For myself and the people I’ve helped I’ve discovered that learning to be still and know the Lord is the most powerful antidote to anxiety.
Blaise Pascal, the great French mathematician, scientist, and Christian theologian of the 17th Century, poignantly described our problem with restless living three centuries ago: “All the unhappiness of people arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own room” (Pensées).
Lie down in Good Shepherd’s green pastures and you’ll find out why you worry…
Whatever is troubling you will rise to the surface. This is your opportunity to pray about your emotional distress, physical restlessness, and wandering thoughts. With practice making the Lord your Shepherd, lying down in his green pastures, and going to his still waters then you can discover with David the wonderful truth: “He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1-2).
Listen to the Birds
Apparently, even the birds know about our problem with worry! Have you heard about the conversation between the Robin and the Sparrow? Listen in and it just might change how you live your life – as it is has done for me:
Said the Robin to the Sparrow:
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin:
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
(Elizabeth Cheney, Streams in the Desert, October 10).
Listen to Jesus
This bit of poetic rhyme reminds me of Jesus’ own wonderful words: “Don’t worry. Look at the birds… Your Heavenly Father cares for them. Aren’t you much more valuable than them?” (Matthew 6:25-26, PAR).
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t notice the birds. They make me smile. They invite me to pause and breathe in God’s beauty. Their cheerful songs remind me that angels are all around us singing praise to the Father and ministering his loving care and protection to us. The birds inspire me not to worry, but instead to listen to Jesus and to place myself in his kingdom of the heavens as I go about my day. The birds inspire me to sing praise to my Heavenly Father.
Try Listening to what the Birds are Singing
I love to follow Jesus into a quiet place to listen and to share my heart with him. I leave my worries with him and he gives me such peace. Sometimes as part of my time with my Lord we do some bird watching.
Right now, somewhere near you, birds are singing: “Be still and know that the Father cares for you.” Smile and sing along!
One day as I watched and listened to the birds above my head Jesus spoke to my heart in a special way. I invite you to smile and sing along: Don’t Worry – Listen to the Birds!