‘Have No Anxiety At All’ ?!

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
— Luke 10:39-42

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

— Philippians 4:6-7

In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
— “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin’s song, used in the movie “Cocktail”, was a #1 song for two weeks in 1988. Its message was the extreme opposite of more raucous pop tunes at the time,so  it captured everyone’s attention.

On another level, the tone basically exhorts the listener to not be bogged down by things and events he/she cannot control. They will be what they will be. Be positive, be forthright in your everyday life, and all will work out as it will work out.

The two readings, offered to us within a couple of days of each other, seem to capture that exhortation.

I am always lifted by the positivity of Paul in his letters, no matter to whom they’re addressed.

God’s love will envelop us, no matter what is causing discord on the outside. Take heart, don’t let fear and pain keep you from making your request to God. All will be made known,and you can be at peace for it.

Luke’s passage about Jesus’ exhortation to Martha gets much play. Let’s quit picking on Martha. At times, we are Martha, scurrying about, with more and more anxiety blocks the message: All which needs to be will be. Attend to the most important, and the everyday will work itself out.

Our behaviors are guided, in part, by our sometimes unconscious reaction to whatever is placed in front of us. I admit I have had a life-long “freezing” response when faced with the need to complete a task or simply to do or say something. I have become sensitive to cues to be attentive to the feeling, the emotion  that may be rising. I take a moment in prayer for guidance, and, lovingly, God shows me a path.

Is it the right path, the correct decision? Overall, it’s been the decision to meet the moment, and my brain moves from being “anxious and worried about many things” to, “Thank you, Lord, I am at peace.”

Image: Emergency Brake, Flickr.

Michael Throop