“Be anxious about nothing…” (Philippians 4:6, The Living Bible)
The word nothing means “something that does not exist.” The word anxious means “to be troubled with care; to concentrate one’s thoughts upon something in a fretful manner.” Could anything be more incongruous than a person focusing all their fretful thoughts upon something that doesn’t even exist?
Yet people do it everyday, almost all day long.
Detached from the present, their eyes somewhat glazed with vacancy, they dismiss the obvious for the oblivious — staring at something that’s not even there. They are unable to appreciate what they actually do have, because they are so wrapped up with anxiety over what they do not have.
One of my favorite hymns that I learned as a boy encourages us to count our many blessings. “When upon Life’s billows you are tempted, tossed; when you are discouraged thinking all is lost. Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will amaze you what the Lord has done!” (Justin Oatman, 1856)
It is true. A few thoughtful moments spent in thankfulness to God for the many blessings that undeniably are yours, will quell the whispering voices that beckon you to become upset by staring at nothing.
Next time anxiety begins to crowd your space, step back and start counting your many blessings — not generally, but specifically. Name them, one by one. Let your mind dwell upon the massive benefits which the Lord has downloaded into your life. You’ll find in no time that by looking at what is really there, your imagination will no longer drift into the darkness of what is not there.
Hey, you there! Stop staring; and start counting your many blessings!