Category Archives: Fret

Do you have hope?

Proverbs 24: 19-20

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.  NIV

Curiously, one of the most fun things about this project is the hunt for each day’s reminder.

I’m never quite sure where the search will take me.  I have several word searches that I’ve begun, but, candidly, I’ve been reluctant to finish any of them in all 66 books of the Bible because, I think, I feared that there would not be 365 reminders and then I would have failed.

But, as each day passes and there seem to be no lack of reminders, I’m gaining confidence that my goal will be achieved.

This morning, I decided to do some clean up on the “worry” list.

I’ve already completely mined The Message for the word “worry.”  This morning, I chose the Holman Christian Standard Bible and I found myself in Proverbs.  When I looked up this verse in the NIV, it reminded me that I’ve not yet finished the “fret” list … perhaps that’s one to return to tomorrow.

Today, I am reminded that the evil man “has no future hope.”

This is sad to me.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about “waiting” and “hoping” as synonyms.

Last night, during Bible Study, I was reminded that my hope is assured.  My God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

But, the evil man, the non-believer, has no future hope.

He IS waiting merely for buses and doctors, and ultimately for an end apart from Jesus.

The evil man has real cause to worry … the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

As I make my way through this day, I’ll think about that.  How can I reduce another’s worry by helping him or her to find the path home?

That’s what I’ll think about today.

 

 

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Filed under Fret, Hope, Old Testament, Proverbs, Worry

You’ve carried it long enough

Zephaniah 3:18

The sorrows for the appointed feasts I will remove from you;  they are a burden and a reproach to you.  NIV

I don’t know much about the feasts that were celebrated by Israel.  I do know that there were many of them and that each had special significance.  I also know that they have significance in foretelling the second coming … that’s about it.

But, it was when I looked at this verse in The Message that I realized it holds yet another reminder not to worry.  “The accumulated sorrows of your exile will dissipate.  I, your God, will get rid of them for you.  You’ve carried those burdens long enough.” MSG

The accumulated sorrows of your exile … I love that.

Throughout my life, my relationship to God has ebbed and flowed.  God is the same, yesterday, today and always, but I have not always walked as close to Him as I should have.  In those times of self-imposed exile, I accumulated quite a basket of sorrows.  It is easy to do as this verse suggests, and to shoulder those burdens each morning.

But, God reminds me here that I don’t have to carry them.  In fact, I’ve carried them long enough.

So, today I will set down that basket of worries, once and for all.  I will unpack each one, and give it to God.

Today is a new day.

As I empty out my basket, I know that the temptation will be great to fill it with new worries, or even to put the old ones back in.  The trick will be to leave the basket sitting there and to walk away.  I don’t have to carry it … or any worries.  I am a redeemed child of God.

That’s what I’ll think about today.

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Filed under Fret, Old Testament, sorrow, Worry, Zephaniah

You can either feed it, or fight it.

Psalm 64: 10

Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him, let all the upright praise him! NIV

This verse closes a Psalm.  It opens with, “Listen and help, O  God I’m reduced to a whine and a whimper, obsessed with feelings of doomsday.” MSG  It saddens me to think what must have been going on at this time for David to be this upset about it.

But, by the end of the chapter, he has worked himself through to the solution: Rejoice in the Lord, take refuge in him, stand up and take your rightful place praising the one, true God.

Sometimes, it’s hard when you’re in the depths of a worry to find your way out of it.  At those times, as my mom would say, “you can either feed it, or fight it.”

David was a warrior, but, in this case, he chose to fight his fears by focusing on God’s provision.   He chose to rejoice in the refuge God provides instead of despairing in his own current situation; to praise God whose strength is unending, instead of focusing on his own weakness.

I will think about that today.

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Filed under Fear, Fret, Old Testament, Psalms, Strength

Psalm 37:7

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;  do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  NIV

I looked up “fret” this morning in my concordance.  It appears only four times, and three of them are in this Psalm.

The Hebrew word for fret, appears to often apply to anger.  Dictionary.com gives this definition, “to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like.”  That’s how I’ve always used the word, but, I don’t remember ever looking it up before.

When I think about that definition through the lens of the first part of this verse, I am struck by the beauty and symmetry of this verse.

“Be still before the Lord,” that’s hard for me to do.  It is hard for me to sit still, and even harder for me to still my mind and my thoughts.

“and wait patiently for him,” this, too is very difficult for me.  I am not, by nature, a patient person.  I’m more more the type to pray that prayer that you see on little signs on people’s desks: “Lord, give me patience, and I want it NOW.”

“Do not fret,” the verse is saying don’t feel or express worry, annoyance or discontent.  Sometimes, I am successful at hiding my worry, annoyance or discontent, but not often.  So, I’m not so good at the “don’t express” part.  But, the more interesting piece to me is this “Don’t fret — don’t feel worry; don’t feel annoyance; don’t feel discontent.”  I can’t do that without God’s help.

So, if I am to succeed in being obedient to the command of this verse, I must go back to the first part of it.  I must quiet my mind, I must be still before God, I must give my worries over to Him so that when things happen that try my patience, I won’t even feel the emotions of fretting.

I want that.  I want that kind of power over worry and all of its associated emotions.

My prayer today is that God will help me to be obedient to this verse.

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Psalm 37:1-4

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.  Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. NIV

I woke up this morning thinking that the word, “dwell,” had to appear more than once in the Bible.  (It’s listed twice in my NIV concordance, but, once applies to living somewhere, not worrying).  So, I went back to my King James concordance.  There, I found pages of listings for dwell, dwelleth, dwelling, etc., but all had to do with living places.  So, I tried “fret,” and found this Psalm.

What a blessing this entire chapter is to my heart!  This Psalm is rich with reminders not to worry.

I sometimes find myself fretting over something that someone has done to hurt me.  I can’t know anyone’s heart, but, sometimes (not often) it seems that people intentionally try to hurt me, most times though I just get hurt in the process of something else — there was no malice toward me individually.

I think that this verse is especially helpful in those situations where I have experienced malice.  In the world today, I think that this often happens as people jockey for worldly power.  But, it can be much simpler than that.  Someone perceives that I have something that they want or they need to achieve their earthly goals, and they take it, just because they can.  I have a friend whose young daughter got her bike stolen out of her own front yard.  That’s malice.

And yet, in the world today, aren’t we sometimes envious of those who do wrong?  Don’t we sometimes wish that our life was as easy as theirs seems to be?  I know I find myself thinking those things sometimes.

But, this passage drives the reminder not to worry succinctly to the point.  I can’t lose focus by fretting about wrongs that may have been done to me, or by envying the accomplishments of those who have perpetrated the wrongs.  The world can take only worldly things from me.  It cannot rob me of my most precious possession — my relationship to Christ.  With Christ as my shepherd, I can live peacefully and enjoy the safety of His pastures.  I don’t want to be the sheep straining my neck and wishing after the illusion of greener grass next door.

Today, I will delight in the Lord and rest in the assurance that He will give me the desires of my heart.

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Filed under Fret, Old Testament, Psalms