Worried? Just Add Oil.

snowy road
Worry Doesn’t Work

Worry. There are quotes and sayings galore that justify worrying as a mother’s right, a necessary component of our DNA, an unavoidable realism in our lives.  But Jesus commanded us not to worry. He gave strict orders to stop all that nonsense and trust Him. Trust God. Trust the Holy Spirit within us.

Even for a really good reason, worry does not change anything. Worry does not help improve the odds in our favor. It doesn’t influence an outcome or a present situation. There is no direct correlation between the amount of worry you stir up in your heart and the success of a situation. The formula does not equate: the more I worry = the better things will get.

No, worry instills greater fear. It perpetuates doubt. It takes the candle of faith and blows it out. It increases the darkness. It backfires!

Fret is Friction

Worry is fret. Fret is like friction. The way we demonstrate ‘fret’ in our body language really speaks the truth of how closely it resembles friction. When you are fretful and anxious, examine how your body responds. Rubbing your face. Wringing of hands. Licking your lips. Biting your nails. Pacing the floor. Tossing. Turning. Friction is a rubbing together of two dry items. This creates heat. And this heat can lead to dangerous things.

Ask any mechanic. They will tell you that friction is the enemy to a well-running engine. Things rub, heat increases, engine parts burn. Damage is done. Engines can be repaired and replaced, but the good mechanic will shake his head at the waste. They murmur, All that was needed to keep things running smoothly for a long time was a little bit of oil.

Maintenance Vs Worry’s Destruction

Maintenance. Check your oil. Fill up what is empty. Don’t let things heat up ‘til you crack or blow up. Don’t let the grain of sand rub you the wrong way. Someone was disrespectful, how dare they treat me that way! It starts out little. The mechanic knows that the oil usually leaks out drip by drip. Neglect things too long and it’s a big mess.

We find ourselves worried, nervous, anxious, fretting, troubled, and overwhelmed. What can we do? Answer: ADD OIL.  The oil that is referred to in Psalm 23 (He anoints my head with oil) made a lot of sense to the early shepherds. In his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Philip Keller, a sheepherder in his day, eloquently described the powerful message of this oil.

The Nose Flies of Life

Sheep bothered by tiny summer flies act a lot like people bothered by tiny annoyances. In his words…

For relief from this (summer flies) agonizing annoyance sheep will deliberately beat their heads against trees, rock, posts, or brush. They will rub them in the soil and thrash around against woody growth. In extreme cases of intense infestation a sheep may even kill itself in a frenzied endeavor to gain respite from the aggravation. Often advanced stages of infection from these flies will lead to blindness….

Only the strictest attention to the behavior of the sheep by the shepherd can forestall the difficulties of ‘fly time.’ At the very first sign of flies among the flock he will apply an antidote to their heads.I always preferred to use a homemade remedy composed of linseed oil, sulfur and tar which was smeared over the sheep’s nose and head as a protection against nose flies.What an incredible transformation this would make among the sheep. Once the oil had been applied to the sheep’s head there was an immediate change in behavior. Gone was the aggravation; gone the frenzy; gone the irritability and the restlessness. Instead, the sheep would start to feed quietly again, then soon lie down in peaceful contentment.

It’s the Little Things

And ain’t it the truth?  It’s the petty annoyances that upset our otherwise good day. That person in the checkout lane ahead of us, the rude guy in the vehicle that just cut you off, the spilled juice on the just-mopped floor, the dribble of coffee on your white shirt.  Can you easily add to the pesky ‘nose flies of life’?

The irritations would lead a sheep to ram his head into a tree for relief.  They’d die rather than live with the troublesome condition.  How easy it is to relate to those poor sheep.  How many things get up my nose and drive me to want to ram my head against a wall?

It’s a daily application for the sheep and it needs to be a daily application for us. The anointing of oil to keep the sheep in peace was not a one-time application. The process had to be repeated for the sheep. It must be repeated for us. We can ask each day, anoint my head with oil. Help me with the nose flies of life.

Whether it is an annoyance or a fear, we have an antidote to the madness.  The Good Shepherd’s oil. Try it. I’ve found relief by praying for the oil to be poured on me when I find myself fretting, working up friction and getting all heated with anxiety and nonproductive concern.  I also find it helps to pray the Good Shepherd’s oil for others.  That person at work, at home, or in my current path who is all upset, worried, or irritable?  I can ask that the oil is poured upon them at the very moment.  It seems to be helpful to both.  The calm I pray to cover others splatters on me.  If nothing else, I find myself in a much more peaceful pasture.  The oil of the Good Shepherd relieves friction, calms spirits, and settles hearts. Give it a try.

Afraid? Here’s some courage for you…