Live Worry Free

 In Preaching & Teaching, Tori Smith

Many of you know about my little Cocker Spaniel, Noah.  He will be turning two in a couple of weeks.  I’ve noticed, during this quarantine time, that he has some fears that I might have helped him work through had my household been different when I first brought him home.

I didn’t recognize this as a fear at first, but whenever he hears a siren, day or night, he begins howling — and continues to howl and howl. It has been so bad, I was concerned the neighbors would think I was hurting him and, for certain, the ASPCA would knock on my door.  His howling was unnerving. He started howling when he first heard the sirens, but he would continue screaming and screaming long after the sirens stopped.

After awhile, I tried letting him howl for just a minute or two, but then would tell him to “listen.” When he was silent and listening, I would tell him, “It’s all over. You don’t hear them anymore.” Most of the time it worked.

Then I recognized that maybe it was a fear that caused him to howl so incessantly at the sirens.  So now, when I hear them and before he can start, I get his attention and tell him he doesn’t have to worry and they are not coming here. He looks at me ever so intently as if to ask if I am sure. I assure him and tell him I am positive they are not coming here.  It seems to be working, at least MOST of the time.  I don’t know if he really understands what I am saying. I don’t know if the screaming is fear based and he is calmed just because I’m paying attention to him.  What I do think is, that like dogs or maybe all animals, we humans can have unfounded fears that lead us to act in ways that are not how God would have us act.  Sometimes those fears cause us to scream in the wind, our hearts to race and our minds to stop thinking about anything but the potential of what MIGHT happen.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Living in the family of God, should be a worry-free zone.  If we truly believe that God has our best interest at heart, that He is fighting for us, that He is watching over us and that His desire is to give us abundant life (see John 10:10), then we need not worry.  We don’t have to be afraid of what MIGHT happen. We can stand with the psalmist and say, I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

May you be blessed as you experience a howl life!

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