Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.Philippians 4:7 (MSG)
This verse above is so beautiful. I exhale when I read the Message translation of Philippians 4, and I think yes, I want to experience that. God’s shalom wholeness. To have a settledness in my spirit.
So how do I gain this settledness?
The clue is in the verse preceding. It is about what we choose to think on, meditate on and rehash in our mind. Verse 6 of Philippians says:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
These words are so expansive and all inclusive. What are we not to worry about? Oh yes, anything! And when are we supposed to take things to God in prayer? Oh yes, in every situation.
Now, I am a mother, wife, friend, and daughter. I know how to worry. If I allow it to, I can spend a lot of my day worrying about my girls’ friendship circles, my husband’s workload, or my friend’s health issues. It is easy for me to fall into a habit of worry.
What is a lot harder is trusting that God loves my girls, my husband and my friends more than me. What is harder is trusting that he has my loved ones in the palm of his hand. What is harder is letting go and letting God.
It is all about mindset, choosing trust over a habit of worry.
And we are given a promise of peace when we choose to trust, a peace that will guard our hearts and minds. I love how the Amplified version expands this:
And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]Philippians 4:7 (AMP)
A peace that reassures my heart that my girls are okay.
A peace that transcends all understanding in regard to my friend’s health.
A peace that stands guard over my heart and my mind, when I think about my family and friends.
Replacing my worries with that peace helps me to have a gentle spirit.
I will leave you where I started with Eugene Peterson’s beautiful Message translation of these two verses:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)
It is not that we can absolutely eliminate worry from our lives, rather what we choose to do with our worries. If we remember to ‘let petitions and praises shape our worries into prayers’, and hand our concerns over to God, he is the one who displaces the worry, and he is the one that brings us peace.
Grab a journal and write down some worries you have today. I find often the simple act of getting them out of mind and on paper is quite cathartic. Then read over those worries and hand them one by one to God, allowing his peace to replace them in your spirit.