To be concerned, ahead of the game, proactive, and preoccupied. All of these are different ways to say that, in one way or another, we are all anxious about something in life. In fact, Whenever we plan something and that something does not go according to our plans anxiety starts to build up.
In the movie Meet The Parents, Ben Stiller plays Greg--a male nurse who is going to propose to his girlfriend, Pam. Greg elaborates a marriage proposal that is interrupted by a phone call from his girlfriend’s sister, who says that she just got engaged.
What is causing us to be anxious?
An average person's anxiety is focused on :
40% -- things that will never happen 30% -- things about the past that can't be changed 12% -- things about criticism by others, mostly untrue 10% -- about health, which gets worse with stress 8% -- about real problems that will be faced.
In the movie Meet the Parents, Greg needs to ask his fiancee-to-be’s father first, who just so happens to be an overbearing ex-CIA agent who keeps a lie detector handy in the basement. Naturally, Jack (Robert DeNiro) takes an immediate dislike to her less-than-truthful boyfriend. Greg’s quest for approval gets extremely anxious and seriously sidetracked .
Again, only 8% of our concerns are about real problems to be faced. Greg (Ben Stiller) not chosen a much easier path to connect with his future in-laws-to-be. However, like I said, his anxiety sidetracked him. How often do we get side tracked by our anxiety?
Matthew 6: 25 – 34 is part of a series of advice about our relationship with God. A series that seems strategically placed right after Jesus’ teachings about treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6: 19 – 24).
Jesus put together some of the main human concerns about life - concerns that cause us to worry (be anxious) about things that we not.
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
So, is it Jesus saying that we should nothing because Our Father in Heaven will take care of everything? No, I do not think he is saying that God wants us to lay back, relax, and do nothing because He will provide. Rather, he is saying is that God’s creation was created with the ultimate purpose of glorifying Him (Job 12:7-10).
Jesus is saying that if all of nature could talk, they would recognize and testify to God’s faithfulness. They would affirm that the purpose for which they were created is to glorify God. He is saying that, from all of God's creations, human beings are only ones with choice to glorify or not glorify God every second of our life. He is saying that human beings – as part of God’s good creation – forget for what purpose we have been created. We often forget that we were created to glorify God and to be in relationship with Him. More importantly, he is saying that every time we move away from our purpose, we make room for worries and anxiety.
We become free of anxiety, when we stop being worshipers of ourselves, what we can do, and we stop relying on our own strength. Instead, we rely and become worshipers of the one who can truly provide.
What are some of the circumstances that cause us to try to lean on our own strength and understanding? What are some of the things that are causing us to be anxious and worried?
33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
To seek first does not simply mean “to search,” but, to “keep seeking.” It means to put one’s whole life at the disposal of God’s will and rule. To seek first is to truly seek Him and His Kingdom in the first place so that our lives will conform to what God has in mind for us. Truly, to seek first is not one time action but rather a constant exercise of our mind and emotions.
One of the final scenes in Meet The Parents, Greg decides to leave Pam and her family and go back to New York. Yet, after a serious of mishaps trying to impress Pam’s parents, Greg is confronted by Jack at the airport for one final showdown.
What did change in Greg’s attitude? One of the major changes is he decided not to be in control and try to impress his in-laws no more. He chose not to control things that he had no control over. He was no longer trying to pretend and/or please anyone. Anxiety was over and the very thing he desired the most happened to him; that is to marry Pam.
Anxiety is to try to change things from the past that cannot be changed and to control things in the future that we have no control over. Like the birds and the lilies, what if we chose to let go of control and seek to bring glory to God, to seek his Kingdom and righteousness? What if our hearts are so certain that He will provide everything we need? So, let’s First Seek His Kingdom and Righteousness and everything else will be added to us.