I will never forget the afternoon I stood in our mudroom, clutching my phone while on a video call with my parents. Tears streaming down my face.
I knew both of my children struggled with language, but it looked like the situation with our youngest was far more dire.
Every what-if question came to mind.
Tormenting thoughts of what this would mean for our family, what this would mean for him, flooded my thoughts as I stood there trembling and trying to grasp at least one shred of hope that this wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
As weeks went by, the anxiety came and went.
I would lay in bed at night thinking of ways I could assist him at home. Making lists of all of the things we needed to get and do with him.
I would spend hours researching how to help him.
And then my husband said the words that turned my whole perspective around: “We’re Christians right? We have God on our side, don’t we? Shouldn’t we then approach this differently?”
He was right!
With my mouth I declared that I depended on God, but with my actions I was screaming that it all depended on me.
I was going to fix this.
That was a turning point for me in many areas of my life.
I stopped planning and started praying.
I stopped researching and started trusting that God created my son for a purpose with his unique gifts and abilities.
And something amazing happened. Over the next two months, he progressed in ways we couldn’t have imagined! It was like a switched flipped in his little brain and things began rapidly moving in a forward motion.
I believe that as the tension melted away in me – and in our home – it relaxed him and he was able to be who he is.
And I was able to rest in my spirit, knowing that no matter what we would face in the future with our son, God already knew the last chapter of his story.
He was in control all along!
3 Ways We Move From Anxiety to Rest
As we head into chapter 3 of the book of Ruth, in our Good Morning Girls study, we see a lot of drama in Ruth’s life as well.
She lost her husband and her father-in-law.
She chose to move to a foreign country to care for her mother-in-law. They were both poverty-ridden, alone, and grieving.
Their future was uncertain.
And just when they’d settled into their new normal, Naomi comes up with a new plan: Ruth should ask Boaz to marry her.
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What kinds of “what-ifs” came to her mind?
Because this was a very risky move! Her reputation was at stake. Her dignity was at stake. Her future was at stake. So many things hinged on how this meeting would go.
And then, just when it looked like things were going to go her way, she found out that there was an even nearer relative.
And her future came into question yet again.
A total stranger could potentially become her husband.
But we don’t see Ruth wringing her hands, pacing the floor, and hyperventilating over the fact that her entire future lay in the hands of some total stranger – goodness knows what kind of man.
We see an unbelievable faith and rest in her!
1. Be Obedient
Every step of the way, Ruth was obedient. She was fully submitted to Naomi and did whatever Naomi asked her to do.
She didn’t debate, she didn’t argue, and she didn’t complain.
There is something here that I think we’ve lost today – and something I believe is a key to moving from fear, anxiety and worry.
As Christians, we’ve grown so autonomous, something we don’t see in Scripture at all.
Everything in our culture demands choices, democracy, and the ability to create our own future. But this isn’t entire biblical.
Yes – God does give us a choice to follow Him or go to hell.
But once we’ve chosen to follow Him, we’ve relinquished our autonomy. We’ve now become a servant to Christ and are expected to submit to Him and His Word.
No democracy, no debate, no creating our own future.
He sets the standard, He has the last word, and we leave our future in His hands.
2. Be content
Boaz says something very interesting the night Ruth came to visit him on the threshing floor.
“Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich.”
Ruth was content to serve Naomi.
I am sure this wasn’t the life she’d imagined: a young widow living with her mother-in-law, working a back-breaking job just to eek out enough food for them to eat.
No one imagines that kind of life.
But we don’t see her trying to fix her future. Rather than Ruth coming to Naomi and saying, “Look, I’m still young and have my whole life ahead of me. Let me go out and find a husband who will care for the both of us.”
It’s Naomi who comes to Ruth and urges her to ask Boaz to marry her.
She had learned something that Paul wrote about in Philippians, “…for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…”
The Greek word “learned” in this verse means to become used to, accustomed to, to learn by use and practice.
We live in a generation in which we clearly see all three foundational sins – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – glorified and encouraged.
But God’s kingdom demands that we relinquish control and learn to be content in whatever state we find ourselves in – even when it is far less than we dreamed for ourselves and our future.
3. Be Humble
At every turn in this book, we see Ruth serving.
And she identifies herself to Boaz as his servant. Rather than demanding security for herself, she quietly serves – emptying herself for others.
I don’t think she hung back and thought less of herself as a Gentile, a Moabitess, a stranger, a widow, and low-income individual with no rights.
All negative things that were true about her.
I simply think she wasn’t preoccupied with herself at all.
She was more occupied with how she was going to serve Naomi and serve Boaz – two people in her life whom she deeply loved and respected.
She didn’t put herself on the back burner. She didn’t move herself to the bottom of the list. She didn’t exclude herself from being cared for.
She didn’t diminish herself in order to elevate others.
She just simply elevated others and as a result it caused her to shine.
As a Gentile, Moabitess, a stranger, a widow, and a low-income individual with no rights, she was well respected by the time we get to chapter 3.
Boaz says this: “…for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.”
She was well respected among the people of Bethlehem; not because she carefully attended to her reputation and made sure that she looked and acted perfectly.
She humbly elevated others, and in doing so she shined.
When we decide to live lives submitted to God and His Word, when we – by means of consistent use – learn contentment, and when we cease being preoccupied with ourselves and choose to elevate others…
we free ourselves from anxiety, and here’s why:
- We trust our future to the hands of God
- We stop striving for those things God didn’t intend for us – or didn’t intend for us right now
- We stop obsessing about our own lives and situations as we humbly serve others
Ruth is truly a woman we should learn from.
A real woman of virtue who was loyal, loving, hard-working, faithful, content, and humble. I want to be like Ruth!
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