“I’d rather just be miserable…”

I was thinking this morning of this line from Anne of Avonlea, when the lady at the boarding house tries to encourage Anne to cheer up. Her reply was, “I can’t cheer up. I don’t want to cheer up. I’d rather just be miserable.”

I’ve had my share of struggles in life, and a friend  shared this chorus (I love the accents in this clip) with me:

worryCheer up, ye saints of God!

There’s nothing to worry about!

Nothing to make you feel afraid, nothing to make you doubt!

Remember Jesus never fails,

(some have “Remember Christ the Savior reigns”)

So why not trust Him and shout?

You’ll be sorry you worried at all tomorrow morning!

Were there times I wanted to give that friend a friendly smack? Probably. But that was my problem. He was doing the right thing, in trying to give me a right focus.  And I’ve been surprised how many times this little tune has come back to me.

Worry is oddly gratifying, isn’t it? Otherwise, we’d never spend so much time doing it!  I have a theory about this.  I believe we were created for perfection. That is what Adam and Eve were, before the fall. That was the state of the Garden. That was the condition of their fellowship with God.  When their disobedience stripped them from this, sin entered in…but the desire for perfection never left.

And now, we add pride to the recipe.  We still want perfection, and we can no longer attain it on our own. So, especially if circumstances are out of our control, we tell ourselves there is still something we can do to control things…we can worry, stew, fret.

Our adversary is a deceiver. Are we really accomplishing anything constructive? Nope.  The only progress being made is in convincing ourselves of God’s insufficiency, indifference, and impotence.  Satan wins.

My mind goes back to the original Anne movie. She asks Marilla if she’s ever been in the “depths of despair.” Marilla’s reply, not warmly given, is that “to despair is to turn your back on God.”  I’m not sure I’d agree that it is always that drastic, but at best, to worry, despair, become anxious, is to forget who God is.

So, how do we fix this? The answer must be in the Word of God. It certainly will not come from leaning on our own understanding (or “following our heart”…yikes!).  This is one of my favorite passages:

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

O, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4

Praise. It drives away all those things we are worried about…all the fears.  Praise Him, and remind yourself today of the bigness, faithfulness, power, and immutability (unchangeableness) of your God!

You’ll be sorry you worried at all tomorrow (and our perfect tomorrow is when we step into eternity) morning!

There is something perfect we can experience right now. It is perfect peacepeace that passes all understanding. This is not something we can muster on our own. This comes from laying all our cares before God in prayer. Many songs have been written on this theme, and for good reason. We need this reminder! It is not our natural “knee jerk” to do this…we have to teach our hearts.

Is there a heart o’er-bound by sorrow?
Is there a life weighed down by care?
Come to the cross–each burden bearing,
All your anxiety–leave it there.

Refrain:
All your anxiety, all your care,
Bring to the mercy seat–leave it there;
Never a burden He cannot bear,
Never a friend like Jesus.

No other friend so keen to help you,
No other friend so quick to hear;
No other place to leave your burden,
No other one to hear your prayer.

Come then at once–delay no longer!
Heed His entreaty kind and sweet;
You need not fear a disappointment–
You shall find peace at the mercy seat.

Leave it there. Again, and again if necessary. He remembers we’re made of dust…God will not reprimand you if your faith becomes weak. Just keep coming.

And cheer up, ye saints of God…He has overcome the world!

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