“Do not FRET. It leads only to evil.” Psalm 37:8 Since “fretting” seems to be one of my personal signature sins, I have read hundreds of verses that remind me to be anxious for nothing, not worry about anything, pray about everything and for God’s sake (and my own, probably), DO NOT FEAR. But “do not FRET”? That’s kind of an old-school word. Had to look it up in the dictionary to get a good feel for how it was any different from the words I mentioned above. This is why it is my new favorite word (not past-time, just WORD). Here are some of the definitions (you ready? I am just giddy with excitement!): To feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent; to torment, irritate, annoy, or vex; (here’s where it starts to get good…) to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives; to become eaten, worn or corroded; to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away.
God knows that FRETTING is not a “one and done.” It’s a verb. It’s an action that we participate in willingly. I love/hate the image of “gnawing”. It’s not like a clean-cut shark bite (I just happen to be watching Shark Week). Gnawing is a slow, grueling process. It also takes a considerable amount of time for something to be worn away or corroded. So, now that we have a pretty good idea about what FRETTING looks like, let’s talk about what God says about it. Well, the main thing He says about Fretting is, DON’T. Besides that, there are a few other comments from my buddy Oswald Chambers that totally kicked my fretting butt today, and, because I love you-I will share them with you so that you too can enjoy a spiritual butt kicking:
*”It is one thing to say ‘fret not’, but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret.” My friend prayed over me before she left town yesterday. She prayed for me to take life one day at a time. And as she continued praying, she narrowed it down to asking God to help me live 15 minutes at a time. Even better. When I fret about yesterday and tomorrow and the days and weeks after that, I rob myself of the joy of living in the moments of today. Not only that, it doesn’t change the pain of the past any or prevent the potential pain of the future. Fretting gnaws at us until living in today become a chore and a burden.
*”(Fretting) Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an indication of how really wicked we are. Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.” We want what we want and we are worried that we won’t get it. Bottom line. If we are “out” to live out God’s plan for us-trusting God to give us what we NEED more than what we WANT-we will be less likely to live in a state of-what was it?-“worry, annoyance, discontent; torment, irritation, annoyance or vexation.”
*”Have you been bolstering up that stupid soul of yours (Oswald’s words, not mine) with the idea that your circumstances are too much for God? Deliberately tell God that you will not fret about that thing. All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God…God seems to have a delightful way of upsetting things we have calculated without taking Him into account.” It’s a trust issue for me. Do I really trust that He loves me and will do what is BEST for me? Even if it may not look like what I WANT? Sadly, the answer is “no.” I don’t always trust Him. I desperately wish I did. It’s kind of like the bad break-up line, “it’s not YOU, it’s me.” It isn’t God’s problem. It’s mine. “it’s not God, it’s me.” I calculate without considering Him. I calculate based on facts, not faith. I often think I have the best ideas and the perfect plan for my life. If only he would cooperate. I FRET because I can’t, or won’t, turn things over to Him.
God wants us to live with peace and serenity in our spirits. That will never be possible when we spend our precious time and energy FRETTING. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.