And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NIV
So, for the last several days, I’ve been working my way steadily through the occurrences of the word, “worry,” in The Message translation of the Bible. I’ve been using BibleGateway.com to accomplish this. There are several steps I have to take to get to the list and to find the place that I was the day before. Using a paper concordance is so much easier, because I’ve been able to check off the references there as I go. Perhaps, now that I think about it, I should have just printed the list from BibleGateway.com and used it as a reference, but, that isn’t what I did.
So, after I’ve expanded all 56 listings of the word “worry,” and after I’ve worked my way to near the bottom of page two of the computer listing, I’m ready to start.
But, this morning, this verse in Philippians was the last one on page two … that wasn’t the case yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. The verses that I’ve been looking at in Thessalonians were on the bottom of page two. Today, this verse in Philippians, which I had skipped over several days ago, was.
When I read the verse in The Message, I didn’t initially recognize it, but I could see its truth and its beauty, “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” MSG
When I flipped to Philippians 4:7 in my Project Bible, this verse was already underlined, and I recognized it in the language of the NIV as one that my mom quotes often. Because it had been underlined in my Project Bible, that meant I had already found it and had catalogued this reminder. But, I didn’t remember doing that.
“It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life,” is an incredible revelation … I knew I had not spent any time thinking on that before.
So, I searched the project. When I found the reminder in my blog, I realized that back in February (on the second day of my project) I had focused only on verse 6, even though I had also listed verse 7. Verses 6 and 7 are two separate reminders … so, this morning, I’ve rectified that. I removed verse 7 from the earlier post and put it here, on its own, as the glorious reminder that it is.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life!
I want to embroider this on pillows … I want a t-shirt!
Many years ago, I took a training class where I heard an amazing speaker, Pat Heim, share her theory on how adults learn. She said that there were four phases: Awareness, Awkwardness, Skill and Habit. She explained these phases by comparing them to the activity of learning to drive.
My father taught both me and my sister to drive in cars with manual transmissions. Over our lifetimes, we have both been thankful for this skill. Even though we seldom need to use it, there are times that it comes in very, very handy.
In any case, when he was first teaching me, I became Aware that there were three pedals, each with a unique function, and of all the various gears and positions of the gear shift. In the next phase, Awkwardness, I was able to manipulate my hands and my feet, albeit clumsily, to move the car forward. But, I still killed it frequently … especially when we practiced stopping at stop signs.
The next phase is Skill. In this phase, I could begin to operate the car more reliably. It still required concentration, but, things were becoming more natural for me and I could start to think a bit about where I was going, not just about all the pedals. It was at this phase that my mother allowed my little sister to join me and my dad one day. When we got home, my mother asked her, “How did she do?” My sister enthusiastically responded, “Really well! We only went like this,” and here she jerkily moved her upper body back and forth for emphasis, “a couple of times!”
The final phase is Habit, where I am now … especially in my automatic transmission car. I get in, I start it, and the next thing I know I’m at my destination. I’ve given no thought to accelerating or braking or turning the wheel … it all comes naturally to me.
Prior to beginning this project, worry ruled my life. It was a habit. I didn’t have to think at all about doing it … it was always there.
Over these last several months, I have consciously worked to move that boulder of worry out of the center of my world. First, I had to become aware of its existence … it was such a shock to find it there! I can honestly tell you that I had no idea how large a role it played until I became aware of it. In the awkwardness phase, I would roll it a bit out of the center, and try to focus on my relationship to God, but, that saying “old habits die hard,” is not for nothing. I found that repeatedly, that boulder would just roll comfortably back into the substantial divot it had made in my heart.
I’m now moving through the Skill phase. If I really focus on Christ at the center of my life, I don’t worry. And, as I find pieces of the boulder, I am smashing them with scripture on a daily basis.
This verse describes the Habit phase … “It is wonderful when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life! Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.”
I’m so thankful for this reminder. I’m so blessed that God put it front and center for me this morning.
That’s what I’ll think about today.