Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39, NIV).
Friend to Friend
On what should have been a glorious day, I faced two choices: I could suffocate to death, or become a supersize tasty snack for the hairy eight-legged monster lurking somewhere in my room. I pondered my options while stuffed inside of a comforter wrapped tighter than a burrito around me. I needed to breathe, but did I want to risk dying?
I spent hours envisioning all the “what if” ways that I could die of a spider bite. For hours, I sweated and stressed myself out. Here’s the kicker: When I finally got up and out of the bed, I never saw a spider! I’d lost hours of sleep stressing myself out over worse case scenarios that never happened!
Whenever we’re afraid, it’s easy to create “what if” movies in our minds. We envision worst-case scenarios about what might happen to our kids, at our jobs, to our health or wellness, or the death of our dreams. I call those negative mental movies “WorryFlix” because our mind effortlessly streams mental episodes filled with painful scenes, crushing emotions and devastating endings. It’s a channel that stresses us out during the day and keeps us up at night, but we can’t seem to change it.
So, how do we cancel WorryFlix and eliminate those mental movies whenever they start playing? Thankfully, Jesus models how we can experience God’s victory over our fears and worries.
In Matthew 26, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew that it was time for God’s redemptive plan to move forward, meaning that Jesus would face physical beatings and pain before dying a humiliating death on a criminal’s cross. Can you imagine some of the “what if” mental movies Jesus might have created in His mind? Matthew 26 records Jesus’ prayer to God on two separate occasions. Rather than fixate on “what if” worst case scenarios, Jesus chooses to pray a specific way: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet, I want your will to be done, not mine” (verse 39). A few verses later, Jesus cried out again: “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done (verse 42).
Rather than stress out over “what if,” Jesus chooses to pray, “My Father! If…” or “God, If…” Uncertainty beckons us to ask “what if” but Jesus doesn’t worry about the what. At the point of great stress and fear, Jesus focuses on the Who. Jesus sees Himself in His difficult situation with God on His side. This isn’t always an easy thing to do. In fact, in Matthew 26, we read that Jesus prays the same prayer three times! Jesus understands if you’ve got to pray away your stress over and over again!
How can you practically apply Jesus’ example to your WorryFlix struggle? Here it is: You can flip from fear to faith by changing your thinking from “what if…” to praying, “God, if…” This flip radically changes your focus from believe that everything relies on you to trusting that everything rests in the capable hands of a loving and powerful God. Worry always weakens when you remember that God is with you!
You may not be able to escape the difficult situation, but you will have the peace, courage, and strength to remember that you aren’t alone!
What are you trusting God for today?
Dear God, I don’t want to focus on my fears, but I want to live by faith! Thank you for sending Jesus to be a powerful example of how I can pray when I’m feeling overwhelmed and afraid. Rather than fixate on my “what if” worries, I will choose to focus my heart and mind on You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Make a list of the “what if” fears and worries that have been stressing you out during the day or keeping you up at night. Now, cross out the words “what if” and write “God, if” next to each fear and worry. Then, pray over your list and talk to God about what you are going through today.
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s content is from Barb’s new devotional book, Surrendered: 40 Days to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus. This 40-day devotional invites you to let go of trying to control others or outcomes and learn how to live like Jesus. It’s like a spiritual coffee break that infuses you with scripture, reflection questions and practical tools to apply to your life.
© 2020 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.