All the time Christians are talking about how Satan is stealing their peace. And while this can be true (Ephesians 6:12), I think that most days Satan just has to leave us to our own devices, and in our fallen, sheep-like short-sightedness we rob ourselves of the things that God has for us. I think that one of the greatest peace thieves is worry – and we have no one to blame it on but ourselves. “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. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it only leads to evil.” [Psalm 37:7-8]
I once heard that “fret” stood for “Fearfully Remember Every Tidbit.” I tend not to like acrostics at all. (Because I think they make people use “okay” words that start with the “right letter,” instead of using the best/most appropriate words. It’s like letter discrimination. I digress.) But I’ve remembered this “fret” acrostic for years. It’s perfect; when I catch myself fretting, fearfully remembering every tidbit is exactly what I’m doing.
We remember every one of our own weaknesses and foibles, and it causes us stress. We remember everyone else’s weaknesses and foibles and that really causes us stress, because, man, if you want something done right you just have to do it yourself! We remember every chore, task, responsibility that we haven’t finished. Then we remember all the reasons we haven’t finished them. There’s no time, no money, no motivation, no help. Fret, fret, fret. We get a rash and remember every episode of House or ER where a person had some horrible flesh-eating disease that started out as a rash that looked just like this one!
We fearfully remember every tidbit, and according to the Bible, fretting leads only to evil. Such strong language. My worry leads only to evil? Can’t it sometimes lead to a solution, to preparedness, to the prevention of a great disaster?
No. Because fretting takes God out of the equation. Fretting means that we have lost sight of how big and capable and sovereign God is. We are no longer taking him at his word, believing that He is telling us the truth when He says, “Your heavenly Father knows that you need [these things]... seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Fretting steals our security in God, and it steals our peace. What tidbits are you remembering today? What can’t you stop thinking about? What evil frets are stealing your peace? A sure way to start reclaiming peace is to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:5]