Yesterday, I drove all around my city looking for a gas station to cash in the 40 cents off a gallon card my mother gave to me. It had to be redeemed by the end of the month (which was yesterday), otherwise she would lose the discount completely. So, Megan (my daughter) and I searched and searched frantically to find the exact gas station. As we pulled up, 20 minutes after our search began, it popped into my mind that Megan has no idea how to pump gas.
“Megan, hop out of the car and let me show you how to pump gas.” I said.
Out she came and I proceeded to give her lessons. I never realized how complicated gas pumping was. We pressed all the right buttons: “yes” to gas discount, “no” to receipt, numbers for zip code, “no” to car wash, “pay outside credit”, and finally the correct gas that I desired. Whew.
“Mom, what if I don’t have a credit card?” she asked.
“Good question. You would need to press “pay inside” and go inside with your cash before you continue pumping gas.” I answered.
“How do I stop the gas from going in, if I only have $10?” she asked getting a little overwhelmed.
“Well, you just pull up on the gas lever slowly, like this.” I said as I showed her how to release the handle and pump slowly. “Just carry around a few coins in case you go over the $10. Megan, don’t worry, it will all be fine. We will practice some more together, so you can get used to it.”
I could see the panic on her face. She was worried. Megan is my worrier, my first born. She likes to do everything perfectly the first time. She places a lot of pressure on herself to be perfect.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
It was hard for Megan to trust that she would be fine. It was hard for her to see passed the fact that she might make a mistake. It was difficult for her to let go of the anxiety that she might pump more gas than she has money to pay for. After all, gas is a highly flammable substance, and it is scary to think that you might spill it all over the gas station. Trusting that someday she would be able to pump gas just like me was something she had a hard time conceptualizing.
I know, this seems silly, but we have all been fifteen at some time in our life and my guess is pumping gas was a big deal. Now my worries seem a lot bigger. How will we pay for our kids to go to college? How can I possibly afford new windows in my house? How am I going to spread myself amongst three kids and all their activities when I am one person with one car? What is going to break next at our rental property and how will we afford to fix it?
My concerns are not even close to many of your concerns. There are people who don’t know how food will get on their table. Many of us have been face to face with losing our jobs, our livelihood. What about those that cannot even get their kids to school? Parents are worried about who their kids will choose to hang out with. We could go on and on about our concerns and worries in life. It can be debilitating to dwell on them. Worse yet, we can let our concerns and worries consume us to the point that we become depressed or angry with the world. Nothing makes us happy anymore. Life is always a downer. How sad, right?
God did not put us on this earth to worry, and certainly he did not want us to be consumed by anger and sadness. In Philippians, Paul goes on to tell the people of Philippi this, “I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.”
Paul knew the importance of letting go and letting God. He recognized that there would be times that he would need to place his trust in God. Because he had faith that God would see him through those times of hunger, Paul was at peace. He pushed worry to the side and allowed peace to fill his heart.
What about Megan and her gas pumping? Well she got home and forgot all about it. We will continue to practice and allow her to release her worries. We will persevere through the anxiety. No worries are going to be invited into our household.
We all have this ability. We can dwell on the situation and the worry OR we can trust that God has a plan and He will reveal that to us. God gives us the gift of peace so that worry can be pushed aside. Don’t let the enemy take over your thoughts. Choose God. Choose Peace. Choose Empowerment for your life.