Fret. A powerful four letter word. We are commissioned, by God, to “Fret not because of…” To be burned or kindled with anger. How often have you said, “It just burns me up”? Maybe it wasn’t you. Perhaps it was someone you have conversed with – a family member, a friend or co-worker.
Fret. To feel or express worry, annoyance, or discontent. This definition may bring it closer to home. You watch someone do some shady business and somehow they get ‘rewarded’ in spite of the means that were used to get to the conclusion. It’s annoying. It chafes you. It just doesn’t sit right, in your spirit. We have tried to gain solace in the scripture, “Fret not thyself because of evil doers.” Do we take it there? Do we call them ‘evil doers’?
Some of us, I dare not say all or even most, choose to live our lives out doing things the way God ordains. We seek the Lord, listen for His voice, and follow His instructions to the letter. We do not allow ourselves any input nor do we assign a conclusion. We just trust God with the outcome of our life’s events and find peace in knowing that He directs our steps. We are keeping our eyes on the prize and not on our neighbor, those we work and/or go to school with or that family member that seems to find success at every turn. *Crickets! Crickets!*
I want to take our focus of off the passage that comes so readily to our mind and take a look at this … Fret. To compete. Pause and carefully think about it. Let it wash over you. Mull it around. Swish it around in your mouth like a fine wine (or grape juice). Fretting – being overly concerned with the way someone else is doing things and their outcome can lead to competition. “If Bob or Fran are doing it that way, and it seems to be working for them, maybe I should do it that way, as well.” Let us not forget that we are going to ‘tag’ God in on our plan (which is really Bob’s and Fran’s plan) looking for His blessing and provision.
The Israelites, when they were in the wilderness, began to fret about Egypt and the Egyptians. Think about it. They began to reminisce about the food they enjoyed (in slavery, all the while complaining about it). They began to think the ways of the Egyptians got things done, so they pooled their God-given booty together to create an idol. The Egyptians, evil-doers, were idol worshippers and things got done in Egypt. The Israelites took fretting all the way. And at times, so do we. Admit it. How many times have you changed the way you handle things based on what you have seen others do? I am not talking about successful God-fearing mentors, but those who seem to be getting it done. The movers and the shakers.
Fret. A worn or eroded place; to cause corrosion; to make a way by gnawing. Eventually, as we keep our eyes on what is happening outside of our true sphere of influence (in someone else’s lane), it eats away at our faith and our confidence that God’s plan and process for our lives will not produce the outcome that we are looking for. We become worn down in our search for our path and our way that has been ordained by Him. The thoughts that others are setting goals and achieving them in a timeframe that has been set by God knows who, vexes our spirit and we become restless – just like the Israelites. We start creating our own golden calf and doing things we see others doing and appearing successful. It creates friction within our relationship with God and we turn to things – regimens, schemes, processes and plans – that have not been written into our story.
God says He has thoughts and plans that are specific to each one of us. We just need to learn how to be yielded and still enough to hear what He has to say. He says to be still and know that He is God – we are not the gods of our own lives. He will direct our footsteps for our path. He will give us plans and insight into what we should do to prepare for our destiny.