Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
The last several weeks have been stressful—for me, for my family, for my church, etc. The combination of worry, sadness, disappointment, my recent schedule, and tiredness are starting to have a negative effect on me. I am not usually forgetful and inefficient, but for the last few days, I have felt inadequate and scatter-brained. I’ve forgotten to complete important tasks and struggled to concentrate on others. And, of course, this feeling of inadequacy gave me one more thing to worry about.
I shared my struggle with a good friend and she looked at me and said, quite seriously, “You need to take some time for yourself. You need to decompose.” I stood there speechless for a few seconds and then grinned and said, “decompress?” She immediately responded that, yes, she meant decompress, not decompose, and we both roared with laughter.
Later, when I shared that story with my boss, he laughed and then pointed out that decomposition could lead to new life. His statement made me stop and think. I decided to look up the definitions of decompose and decompress, and started thinking about these two words in relation to what I have learned through the Scriptures.
First let’s look at one definition of the word decompose: to separate or resolve into constituent parts or elements; disintegrate. When I read that definition and the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7, some interesting thoughts came to mind.
I am supposed to pray, not worry. Paul says that if I tell God what I need, and thank him for what He has already done for me, I will experience the peace of God. Maybe when I give God my worries, they begin to decompose. God can help me separate what is going on in my life into what really matters and what does not. If something doesn’t really matter, I can let it disintegrate. God can also help me break the important things down into manageable pieces that will not overburden me. And if I allow Him to do so, God will carry the pieces that I cannot.
Now let’s look at some definitions for the word decompress:
- to undergo decompression. (The act or process of releasing from pressure.)
- Informal. to relax; unwind.
When I turn my worries over to God and allow them to decompose, I can begin to decompress. It’s then I will experience peace— a peace that guards my heart and mind as I live in Jesus Christ. It’s a peace that comes when I allow God to release the pressures I feel when I am stressed or worried. It’s a peace that allows my heart and mind to relax and find rest. It’s a peace that enables me to find the focus I need for my tasks, and it’s a peace that reminds me I am, indeed, adequate in the eyes of the Father.
I’m grateful that my friend’s unexpected word choice led me to find words about the unimaginable peace of God. May we all experience this amazing peace by letting our worries decompose and our hearts and minds decompress.