My wife Liz says I do not know how to turn my mind off. I respond that because I do not have much of a mind to start with, I need to keep working with what little I have!
But the reality, she is right. I plan, worry, experience stress and agonize over situations – real and imagined – far too much. This is probably out of lack of trust in God and also fear that if I do not attempt to manipulate and control, things will become even worse than they already are.
Over the years I have learned there is a practical remedy for this problem, and try to apply it as often as possible. Let me start with an analogy: I eat breakfast every day. My brother Jim says is the most important meal of the day, because if you are not home in time for breakfast you are probably going to be in a lot of trouble! But in addition to that, we are told a substantial breakfast is important for having the necessary energy and stamina for the day ahead.
However, there is something more important than breakfast and the general practice of getting physical nourishment, in my opinion.
Every day before I take my physical nourishment of the day I take spiritual nourishment. Why do I do this? Because, as I understand it and have come to believe, I am not a physical body with a spirit but a spiritual entity with a physical body. (Think about that for a while.)
For me this usually means that, no matter how demanding my schedule is for the day, I make a point of taking time to start it by reading a passage from the Bible and also from a favorite devotional to get my thinking headed in the right direction. A great spiritual leader once commented that he always began the day with an hour of prayer; if he were especially busy, he would start with two hours of prayer!
One morning, along with my Bible reading, using Oswald Chambers’ daily devotional My Utmost For His Highest, I saw the following. He cited a scripture passage and then offered some comments:
” ‘…do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on’ (Matthew 6:25).
“Jesus summed up commonsense carefulness in the life of a disciple as unbelief. If we have received the Spirit of God, He will squeeze right through our lives, as if to ask, ‘Now where do I come into this relationship, this vacation you have planned, or these new books you want to read?’ And He always presses the point until we learn to make Him our first consideration. Whenever we put other things first, there is confusion.
” ‘…do not worry about your life….’ Do not take the pressure of your provision upon yourself. It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe God can look after the practical details of our lives, and it is never anything but those details that worry us. Have you ever noticed what Jesus said would choke the Word He puts in us? Is it the devil? No – ‘the cares of this world’ (Matthew 13:22). It is always our little worries. We say, ‘I will not trust when I cannot see’ – and that is where unbelief begins. The only cure for unbelief is obedience to the Spirit.”
I think this is good, practical wisdom to put into use as we confront our workplace challenges today.
Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from the “Fax of Life” column that he writes each week. Used with permission.
1. Do you think too much – or tend to over-think, whether it is about workplace issues or personal concerns? If so, how does this affect you and others around you?
2. Planning is good, but what happens when you mix planning with worry, fear and doubt? Explain your answer.
3. Mr. Korkow suggests that an effective remedy to thinking too much, even agonizing over various situations, is intentionally setting aside time for meditation, for studying the Bible and for pray? How do you respond to that suggestion?
4. What are your reactions to the quotations from Jesus and the commentary that follows? Do you think these principles are appropriate for the 21st century workplace? Why or why not?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:
Proverbs 16:3,9, 19:21, 20:24; Isaiah 26:3, 41:10; Matthew 6:26-34; Philippians 4:6-7