My 16-year-old daughter just got her drivers license. What an exciting day! But it didn’t start out that way. It started with a plea to practice parallel parking—one.more.time. And so we did. It wasn’t her best execution of the skill–which resulted in an emotional moment. Then we headed to the DPS office–only to realize that the paperwork was still at home. So back we went. More emotion. As we headed out, there were a few more unexpected events that created more emotional moments. My girl was so worried about her driving test, she was making mistakes that normally she would not make. Finally, I told her to relax. I reminded her that her dad had taught her well. She had hours and hours of practice. She knew what she was doing. She had all the skills she needed to pass her test. There was no reason to worry.
Watching my sweet daughter run the gamut on the emotional scale, God reminded me of this fallback Scripture for worry.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:6-8).
Powerful verses, indeed. Ones I have prayed many times when I was wrought with worry. I was always comforted by them. But recently, I learned something new.
Verse 8 says,
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
What is excellent? What is praiseworthy?
Maybe I should be asking Who? Because honestly, only God is worthy of our praise.
God Is Worthy of Praise
- What about God is true?
- What about God is honorable?
- What about God is right and pure?
- What about God is lovely?
- What about God is admirable?
- What about God is excellent and worthy of praise?
This is worship. Remembering God’s attributes. Listing them if we need to! These are a few I love.
God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. (Psalm 18:30)
… [God] never changes or casts a shifting shadow. (James 1:17).
[God] saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5).
A Step Further
Then, we can ask What is true (honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise) about God in my situation?
God is powerful and accomplishes His purposes.
Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.” (Job 42:1-2).
You can make many plans,but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” (Proverbs 19:21).
God is gentle with us.
I led Israel along, with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. (Hosea 4:11).
What else for you?
When we sit still and let God speak to our hearts, He reminds us of Who He Is. Before we know it, we are in awe of Him.
It doesn’t mean we quit caring. Absolutely we pray. Sometimes a lot! We bring our cares before God and leave them there. We focus on Who God Is, especially in our current circumstances, then we experience His peace. The thing that has us worried becomes small in comparison.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)
The Focus Of Our Worship
Verse 6 is about worry–thoughts fixed on our circumstances.
Verse 8 is about worship–thoughts fixed on God and all that He is.
When our concerns become worries, they become objects of worship. It’s one thing to get busy doing something else to try and get our minds off of what has us worried. It’s a completely different thing to focus on God.
Not really prepared for what today would bring, last night I went through this exercise of listing God’s attributes. I found a quiet place. I closed my eyes. And I began to think about Who God Is. Scripture after Scripture filled my mind. I wasn’t worried at the time, but my heart moved into this beautiful place of worship. I believe God was preparing me for what is to come.
I shared this with my daughter and encouraged her to replace her worrisome thoughts with worship toward her God. She did just that. She chose some music for the thirty-minute drive to the DPS, and she worshiped. She was still nervous when it came time to take her test, but her heart and mind were in a much better place.
Yes, she passed! No more worry for her! Now–it’s my turn to worship instead of worry. 🙂When worried, shift your focus from the situation, to the One Who walks you through it. Then worship!