“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” – Charles Spurgeon
The 2022 flu. I got it and I got it bad! It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was laid low with fever, chills, sore throat and tears. I wasn’t done wrapping presents, sending cards, checking on my elderly neighbor. I’m a Christmas lover. The lights. The music. The hope. The movies. The food. The warm wishes. And I slept, shivered and cried through it all. I’m still not hitting on all cylinders because of fatigue and a nagging cough.
My grandkids still don’t have wrapped presents from me. Everything is in a box waiting for the perfect ribbon and card. I let them down, I’m sure. Christmas day I woke up to a cup of cocoa, tree lights and back to bed. It’s been 10 days of illness and my house is in tatters. My scared and tired mind reminds me I’m older with an immune system unlike my youthful days. My flu could turn into pneumonia if I don’t take care. And along comes catastrophizing and when ill, it really takes on a life of its own—people will think I forgot them. People will see my messy house. I look like death warmed over. Soup for Christmas dinner along with cough syrup and pain reliever. Whoopee!
Catastrophizing is focusing on me. There may be genuine concerns and if appropriate, steps to be taken. Catastrophizing is living in a future where we forget who God is and who isn’t. Jesus cautioned us to live in today because tomorrow has enough worries. And Jesus will be there too.
But I’ve had many beautiful Christmases. The baby in the manger had no twinkling lights, music for a king, gender reveal party, no disposable diapers, overdone baby shower gifts or a cushy crib. He did have a vibrant star, dirty, smelly shepherds, angels and a teenage mom. No blaring trumpets or red carpet. Now there’s a catastrophic story! The world was never the same. Thank God.
Projecting, anxiety, catastrophizing happens to all of us because life is difficult. It really is. Many difficulties are caused by others and we are still called to overcome them. It was difficult for a helpless babe in a manger and it’s difficult for us too. We share in his cross because we are his. Catastrophizing happens when we’re living in the past or future and forget who’s in today with thanksgiving. We forget we have passed from death to life.
Jesus said that worrying will not add one cubit to our lives and if we can’t do that simple thing, adding to our lives, we need to give it to our Father. We’ll take it back many times as we learn to trust. But we learn.
We are so thankful you never give up on us. In Matthew, Jesus had compassion on the crowd because they were weary and harassed like sheep without a shepherd. We are so thankful for your never-ending compassion.
Help us to live in today with you. It’s the only way to truly live. It’s the only way to truly love. With thanksgiving.