“Do not worry,” a challenge for the New Year.

As December moves by quickly, I am starting to look back at what goals I’ve accomplished in 2013 and what I would like to work on in 2014. One of my main goals is to “live clean in 2014,” meaning cleaning up my eating habits, cutting out (hopefully) ALL processed foods and things that I know make me feel bad (cough cough, milk). Thankfully, I have already let go of all harsh chemicals in cleaning thanks to Norwex!

But as I continue to write out my goals for 2014, I see the same list from last year and the years before…
– Save more money. Spend less.
– Lose weight. Start exercising. Try new foods.
And the list goes on and on…..

Now that I’m a mom, I start to create goals for my children. Potty training for J, solid foods for T, planning the best joint-birthday party, saving for college, preschool vs. teaching at home…… AGH!!!! My list goes on and on and instead of feeling hopeful for the new year, I’m already exhausted.

I become so obsessed with the future that I begin to daydream about the one magical morning that I’ll wake up, exercise, put on makeup and begin my perfect day complete with preschooling at home, perfect pinterest crafts and chauffeuring my well-behaved kids around to playdates, the grocery store and of course, Target. Are you gulity of this too?! I’m not sure why I worry so much about the future. I barely have time to focus on the present!

With that said, while studying Week 1/Day 4 of Me, Myself & Lies, I read Matthew 6:25-34. As a former youth minister, I know this passage all too well because we’ve taught it to 3 different classes over the years, “Do not worry.” “God will provide everything.” “Don’t worry about your clothes.” “Don’t worry about food.” You may know the passage by heart as well. But tonight, I noticed something different. “Do not worry about your life…..or about your body.” I was baffled that I never noticed that part before.

Do not worry about your life. Wow. Take a moment and ponder that sentence for a minute. I think that regardless of whatever stage of life you’re in, you can easily worry about life. School, grades, plans after graduation, will I ever get married, will I get pregnant, how will my kids turn out, etc. But in regards to planning for the new year, I wonder, “Should we be planning at all?”

Now before you go all crazy on me about planning for the future, I agree that retirement funds, menu-planning and other things that can be helpful but not necessary. Let me clarify. If I’m spending my time planning out my future, it can easily become an idol (or thing that distracts me from God). Helpful tips and tasks that will make life easier are okay but like this passage states, along with Proverbs 27:1, we do not know what tomorrow will bring so all of the planning and worry could be for nothing!

Crazy Busy, along with other books, challenges us to bring our schedules to God and for me, that has been really eye-opening. I know, now, that when I say Yes to something, I am saying No to something else. So as you consider your goals, bring them to the feet of Jesus and ask Him to weed out the ones that are not important.

Do not worry about your body. Sure, we’re not supposed to worry clothing. My husband preaches this every Sunday morning when I stress over looking nice for church. But do not worry about your body. I have never noticed this when reading this passage. I confess that I worry about my body every.single.day. 

I am about 40 lbs over my goal weight (a.k.a. my wedding weight). I obsess all day about what I’m going to eat. I plan out my points on WW and plan for walks & exercise throughout the week but when that moment comes, I’m too tired, busy or focused on something else to stop and do it. Tracking points is like exercise…if you’re in the habit, it’s easy to schedule it in but if you fall off the wagon, climbing back on is harder than before!

But Jesus tells us not to worry about our body. What does that even mean? I know that there are scholars who could provide a million different reasons and commentary on the passage but for me, I think it’s a matter of focus again. If I am focused on eating, my body, my image, what my clothes look like and how they fit, I am not focused on the things above. 

In Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst says that if we are going to win the battle of food cravings, we must crave God first because only through His strength will we ever be able to accomplish anything long-term. I am finding that to be true every day. The focus is not to be on my body (especially because like earthly things, I will not be bringing it to heaven)! The focus is to be on God and God’s plan for my life. 

If I am focused on living for God and bringing my thoughts, words, schedule, decisions and actions to Christ, then I can begin to battle the worries of life. If I am in touch with the Spirit, then even though I really want those goodies at the Christmas party, I can pray that God will somehow distract me away from the temptation & refocus on what I’m there to do (i.e. have fun, fellowship with friends and build relationships). The desire or temptation may still be there, but my focus overpowers it.

The same goes with goal-planning. Yes, I’d love a fit body, clean house and well-behaved kids, but only through focusing on my present will I ever get to a schedule or regime that helps build those goals. By focusing on God’s plan, I will take care of my body (and not worry about it) so that I have the energy to exercise, take care of my home and spend quality time with my children. Sounds easy, right?! Not quite! Thank goodness for grace because refocusing is a daily struggle for me!

What do you find yourself worrying about? Do you stress over the new year? Do you have a list of resolutions?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Becky

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