Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"To Worry or Not To Worry"

I know some of you might be shocked by this since I don't show this side of me very often, but I'm just like anyone else...I worry. I worry that now that I have a son, I want him to have it even better than I did (which is going to be pretty tough to beat!). I worry that with the election here upon us, depending on which way it swings, our taxes are going to drown our businesses. I worry about going back to work and leaving my wife here at home by herself. I worry about not being busy enough in the office to keep everything going so that we can help more people. I worry about being too busy in the office and not getting to spend the time with my patients that I really want and that they deserve. I heard a quote a pastor said one time, he said, "Big worry=Little Faith". He was talking about in Matthew 6 when Jesus is teaching about worrying, he says "Oh you of little faith..." talking about those who are worrying about everything from what they would eat, to what they would wear. And I never understood what that meant, and it actually annoyed me, until recently. The clearer and more audible I hear the Holy Spirit speak to me, the more I'm seeing the things in my life for what they are: tests and opportunities for growth and glory for my God. God has continually been teaching Cindy and I (both severe Type A personalities) to COMPLETELY surrender everything we have to him and allow him to take care of it. Cindy and I are very capable people and we think that in a tough spot (especially me) that we can just cinch our belts up a little tighter and just push right through it of our own strength and abilities. But like what Pastor Robert was teaching 2 weeks ago about stewardship, we don't own a thing, God owns it all.....including our abilities. So even the times that I've felt like, "Man, I did good on that!...Did you see me? Did you see how great I did?!?" (and those of you who know me best can totally see me saying that!! Be quiet Landis!) Even in those moments, it had nothing to do with ME, it had everything to do with HIM. He gave me the talents and abilities so even when I think I'm doing a great job....it's him. Pretty humbling isn't it?? And at first pretty scary....to think about laying down everything and giving up ALL control. For me it was even scarier I think because I'm one of the biggest control freaks I know!! My motto, I think I adopted from my Dad, has always been "If you want something done right, do it yourself!" So I would sometimes rather do everything myself and have everything crash and burn around me, and me make myself sick from the long hours and sleepless nights, just to say that success or failure....it was all ME. All the while God is watching me saying, "Soon....soon you will get to the point of complete exhaustion and all you'll have is me, and you'll let me take this burden for you....and I'll blow your mind how I'll take care of it for you!" And I finally got to that point this year (earlier in the year...late spring, early summer). One of my biggest strongholds in my life and hardest things to give up is my business/finances. God has always been faithful that no matter what happens, he's kept the accounts just where they needed to be. Well, I got in a really tough spot earlier this year and was contemplating having to sell some of the equipment!! And I felt like God (I hadn't started listening well enough yet!!) asked me to tithe double that week!! I told him that I wanted to, but that there wasn't even enough money in the account to pay the staff or the bills, let alone tithe! But I told him I would consider it and maybe next time. (CAN YOU IMAGINE!!! I WAS SO DUMB!! LOL) But that entire week God bore into my heart to give double our tithe AND he wanted Cindy and I to give 4 figures to the new building at North Richland Hills. It was so strong that I brought it to Cindy and told her what I was feeling and of course (happens every time), she confirmed what I was being told because he had told her the same thing. So probably 75% willingly (lol....good thing God takes the good and the bad..) we gave what he asked of us. We gave knowing that if God didn't come through for us (as if he ever hasn't) that we couldn't pay any of our staff and the electricity might get turned off. And that next day we had so many insurance checks come in the mail that it more than paid for everything we needed and then some!! And God has done that over and over and OVER AGAIN...but I have such a hard head I think it took me watching my incredible wife birth Harper to really finally implant this in the core of my brain that HE is in control of everything. HE is in control of my finances, HE is in control of my family, HE is in control of my staff and businesses, HE is in control of the election and the future, HE IS IN CONTROL OF IT ALL. And all I have to do (and he doesn't say it will always be peaches and cream soda) is put my trust in him and get out of my own way to let God work through us to get his will done. That doesn't mean that there aren't consequences for past mistakes, that's for sure. God is a forgiving God, but he is also a just God and he knows that allowing us to walk through some of our mistakes teaches us and makes us cling to him tighter knowing the alternative. So no, our finances aren't overflowing like the Mississippi during flood season, but they are consistent. Yes, we still struggle to make some of our bills...but some of those bills were unwise and purchases without asking God's opinion, so those are the hardest to meet (go figure). But my heart is happy and my heart is free because I'm not bound to those bills, or to those bank accounts....I'm bound to HIM and in the promises he has shown me about what he's going to do through Cindy and I and through Harper, my son. He's given me visions of what Harper will do one day as I hold him that make me cry. The other day, Cindy needed to shower, so I put Harper in a sling and I put on Kari Jobe's worship CD and we danced in the living room and worshipped God and I cried the whole time, because of the things I saw while I was there. I didn't want that CD to end, believe me.

So when you feel the worry creeping in, stop the worry and start the worship. Because in the times we are at our lowest, get ready because that is where God is going to use you the most. It is still hard for me to give it all up (because I want to be helpful... ;) but I'm getting quicker to do so....because I want all of my plans to be his plans, not mine. "Pray and then Plan" is my new motto....I'll let you know how it works out!!



Michelle said...

"I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."

Love you guys!

bluebonnetstopeaches said...

Another great post Jim Bob! Our sermon this past Sunday was on worry (which I needed to hear) and the thing that stuck out in my mind is Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Birds don't worry and God provides all their needs for them. He made me in His image and considers me to be more valuable than the birds. If He provides all needs for the birds, why would He not provide for all of my needs?

feltsdia said...

You know I just love you, JB! You stir my faith, brother! Also do not forget, you sow so many seeds; you have done so for me and my family many times. Those come back to you--some 30, some 60, some 100-fold! You've planted enough seed in my family alone that your harvest will cause you to live "in abundance, to the full, till it overflows." (John 10:10) You are living for His glory in those times, too. He is good, all the time!