I remember one night when my dad and brother were gone, and mom and I wanted to set the VCR to record a TV show. I can imagine my children shaking their heads at that archaic technology, but at the time it was super cool that we could do such a thing.
So we got out the instruction booklet. I can’t remember if mom read and I pushed the buttons or if I read and she pushed the buttons.
Step by step we followed the sequence of actions. As we laboriously neared the end of the process, we came to this instruction:
We looked at each other and burst out laughing. We had done all those steps and then they told us what to do first? We never did get that show recorded.
I catch myself doing this kind of sequence all the time. 1) Worry. 2) Worry. 3) Cry about it. 4) Take ibuprofen for headache. 5) Worry. 6) But first…
But first I should have prayed.
But first I should have asked God for help.
But first I should have sought God’s wisdom.
I always feel tired frustrated when I get myself worked up about something and then, maybe hours later, realize I should have started with focused prayer as a first step. (This may have happened just recently.)
Jesus tells his followers:
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33a NIV)
This is the action we should take before we walk through a sequence of worrying about things. I have honed the practice of gut-twisting worry until I can perform it in my sleep, but I would like to be done with anxiety. I want to be a person of peace, and I know you want a peaceful heart, too.
So we need to do things in the correct order.
1) Talk to God about it.