Powerless and Worry-Free

I traditionally have a steady stream of students out my door with various problems that are plaguing them. Being a teenager is tough, and they are often buffeted with problems and decisions that will decide their entire lives, with them feeling hopeless and fearful, as a result of these decisions. One such example was just this week. I had a senior student approach me who is very worried about the uncertainty of her future when it comes to college. She had already submitted her applications to her schools, spending hours poring over them, refining each and every detail. She also had to prepare a portfolio, which was also done and submitted. Now, she was waiting to hear from these schools and was terribly worried about where she would be spending the next four years. Additionally, she was worried about a health diagnosis which would be ascertained from a recently submitted blood sample. In both situations, she had nothing further to accomplish or tackle and was just waiting on others to tell her what the outcome was. Stressing about the situation, I asked her if there was anything further that she could do, to which of course answered, no. I reminded her that there is great freedom from worry when there is nothing to do to get you closer to your goal. She was completely powerless, which meant that there was no point in worrying. She found some comfort in this idea, and her level of worried decreased significantly because of this logic, but she still was unable to fully find peace, instead feeling not only worried but also defeated and lacking in hope. As Christians, we are told that our future is cared for by an unseen force. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, encourages the church to free themselves from worry: “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” (4.6-7). To logically reason out that one needn’t worry further is a good start, but what to do with that feeling of unease once you can reason the rest away? Yes, maybe we can lessen our worry by knowing that there is nothing we can do to alleviate the situation, but then we must find a place to rest our future so as to gain hope. Paul suggests to present your future to God and let Him handle it. There is great hope to be gained with the knowledge that in addition to not having control of the situation, the one who is in control has great love for us. He wants the best for His children and however the future turns out, it is well within His plan. We may not be able to control our future, but we can control our worry through hope in Him, thereby retaining hope. We may not be able to see the exact details of the future, but we can see that it is filled with His love for us. This week, put your trust in Him and find your hope again.  Amen.

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