Charles and I, like most people in America, got a dog in April, right around the time the country began quarantining.
Meet Pickles, our Pitbull Terrier.
For the record, I’m not a dog person. When we first got her, I was a little afraid she was going to kill me, especially because of the bullfaced lies people spread about Pitbulls. In the last few months, I have fallen deeply in love with her. She is the sweetest little soul you’ll ever know.
We both work from home in our apartment’s second bedroom. Pickles will lay behind my office chair, on the rug, or under our desk as we work. As we’re working, prepping, or even in a meeting, you’ll hear Pickles’ slumbering with the deepest, loudest snores I’ve ever heard.
I am often astonished by Pickles’ sense of security. This dog, who has only known us for a few months, sleeps with such ease and peace. Something tells me she feels safe with us. She trusts we will take care of her—feed her, walk her, play with her.
She trusts that she has a bright and happy future ahead of her.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) is one of Jesus’ most famous teachings. It lays the foundation of what Jesus cares about and how He has called us to act. It’s also one of His first teachings after He begins his career in ministry. He addresses all kinds of topics and uses poetry and storytelling as a way to talk to us— everyday humans—about the Kingdom of Heaven.
For my 2020 lesson, I want to touch on the issue of worry, which Jesus addresses in Matthew 6:25-34.
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.
My mom is a total worrywart. We call her Worry Murry. The older I get, and as much as I try to fight it, I’ve inherited this immense feeling of anxiety. My worry consumes me—managing family, relationships, job challenges—eats at me until I am a little blob of worry puddling on the floor.
Most of my life, I held the burden of proof that worrying was silly. My parents, family members, naysayers, would place their worry on me and I spent a lot of time trying to prove their worry was unnecessary, and oftentimes, unreasonable.
If you’ve ever been in that position, managing both your own worry and the worry of the people around you, it can really suck the life out of you. Standing up to my worry is hard enough? Other peoples’ worry? That’s even harder.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you may constantly hit this wall. Despite what you know about your position as a child of God, the worry takes over and you become all consumed by it.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that worry is going away. I think it is our humanity and shows the commitment we have to the things we worry about. It’s natural, it’s healthy, it’s human.
In those moments of worry, I am trying to default to what Jesus says about me in Matthew 6. To tell myself that I’m the lily.
That in fact, I’m more valuable than the lily.
I picture Jesus holding me, reminding me He holds all this worry and the certainty of my present and future.
We have access to a Heavenly Father who is capable, who has and will do again, the things we need, at just the right time. And even if He doesn’t do the thing you want, He does much better. He does beyond what we can imagine or understand.
My little pup reminds me of the trust I want to carry into 2021. This belief that God has made me perfectly. He made no mistakes. He wants me to dream big and do things without abandon.
He wants me to focus on my present, and trust that He has my future plans, ideas, and dreams in His hands.
Remember, friends, you are the lily. You are even more.