Burning The Midnight Oil (of Worry)

My friend Melinda owns a store in my hometown and like any business, she and her husband spend many hours at the store. It’s a huge responsibility and often requires them to “burn the midnight oil” restocking the shelves so they will be ready to open the next morning. This is particularly true when the seasons shift. They sell home decor items that tend to follow the seasons and holidays, so every time there is a changing of seasons, their store must change its stock.

If you have ever worked retail, or even food service, then you understand what I mean by this change of decor. It is a team effort and often done through extended hours, either before or after your usual shift. When you own the business, like my friend, there are no shift hours, its get the job done regardless of the hour- even if it is literally past midnight. She is the owner so it falls upon her to make sure it all happens on time. It is her responsibility.

I was reminded of this as I checked my Facebook this morning and Melinda had posted late last night, while restocking the store, and while I was apparently blissfully sleeping. But, actually, I admit I wasn’t. I too was burning the midnight oil, waking up in the middle of the night and thinking. And thinking. Have you ever been there, done that? When your thoughts are keeping you awake way past midnight?

I would like to say that once my head hits the pillow I drift off into sleep without a care in the world. And most of the time I do. But, when there is so much happening in my life I either find that I am having trouble falling asleep as I play the events of the day that has just passed over and over again. Trying to decide if I handled it all correctly. Or previewing all the events that will take place the next day, or next week, or even next year. Pondering it all. Working my mind out, while it should be resting.

It is too easy to let this happen isn’t it? To be fair, I do believe it is a good idea to think back on the day that has just passed. But, instead of a critique,why not a gratitude check? Instead of focusing on whether or not we did everything right, why not focus on what God did. Did you see the work God was doing?

Reflecting at night with a thankful and grateful heart forces me to stop and think productively. Not focus on whether I did everything right- which I’m pretty sure I didn’t, but looking at the little things that worked out beyond my expectations and realize God was in it. In the smallest detail. The ones we might overlook because of our busyness and hurried lifestyle of 2022.

And what about tomorrow’s worries? Instead of thinking and overthinking about events that usually do not happen like we think they will, let’s try really giving them to God. We can make our plans, and be organized, but, we really are not in control of everything. We are not the owners of this world, just the caretakers. We can give all the worries of tomorrow and all of our plans to God.

Jesus knows that we would worry when he said; “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV). He points out that God knows what we need and since God takes care of the birds and the flowers, surely He can take care of our needs. So why should we be worrying?

And if we are still unclear about what Jesus says about worry, He adds in the last verse of chapter 6 of Matthew; “Therefore, don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:34, CSB).

Ouch. I am definitely guilty of worrying too much about tomorrow. I need God to remind me often, that I just need to stop and be still. Stop my over thinking and over analyzing, long enough to relax, let it go and let Him work it all out. It takes the Holy Spirit to nudge me and remind me to give it to God. To stop focusing on what has passed already and what may or may not happen tomorrow. To be reminded that I do not need to burn the midnight oil worrying.

I hope this will be a reminder to you too. Stop focusing on your problems and start focusing on God. – God Bless You – Nancy

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A Christian writer and teacher who loves to encourage and challenge believers in their walk with Christ. I am a graduate of Liberty University and the proud wife of an Air Force veteran and the mom of three grown adults.

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