Merimnao (Greek)- to be pulled apart by anxiety; to go to pieces (figuratively); distracted by worry.
Translation: a hot mess.
I found out today just how useful it is to search for the original Greek/Hebrew words and definitions of scriptures in the Bible.
They can provide you with a wealth of insight that completely blows to pieces your previous understanding of even one verse, even more so the really popular ones that you love to quote.
Today’s scripture was Matthew 6:25
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what your will put on.
Rewind to two days ago. I was meditating on the English version of this scripture blissfully confident that I knew just what Jesus was referring to. I mean it was pretty clear-cut.
DO. NOT. WORRY.
Yet, unbeknownst to me there was an imminent battle on the horizon where I would experience what He truly meant.
Later on that day, I had a desire to buy something but I told myself that I would shop with just my eyes and not my wallet. I searched my old haunts without much resistance from my web browser: I only needed to type the first letter and autofill did the rest of the work.
I finally settled on one company whose enticing promise of a 30% and discount and next day delivery *FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY* seemed too goad to dismiss.
The force was strong. I knew that the longer I kept on scrolling that I was only fooling myself and that I would end up buying something.
How could I not take advantage of a 30% discount?! Was this not a situation where I was using wisdom to not only get what I wanted but at a discounted price?
Innocent lurking turned into stalking. I must admit that the hours that I spent on each site was motivated by a part of me that wanted to find something to buy. I deserved just a little pick me up after being so strict with my money.
A little pick me up
Since when were material possessions a method of self-medicating my guilt?
By this time the items were in the shopping bag and then paid for. With no hesitation. With a quickness that Usain Bolt would be proud of.
Even during the checkout process there was an opportunity to abort the mission but at this point I rationalised once again that these mere two items were a steal!
Earlier that day, I had read Jesus telling His disciples specifically not to worry about what to wear or as the Message Bible states “whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion”.
The worry to buy or not to buy was NOTHING compared to the merimnao that came once I had received the items.
Now remember I recently came into some money.
Not that much, but God definitely blessed me, for no reason other than He is gracious 🙏. So keep in mind that last month I had 0 in my account. 0 pounds, mula, dollars…. no matter the currency or condition of the stock market, I had zilch!
Between now and then, I have spent a small amount on a total of 5 things for myself. I feel like I have spent a small fortune, even though that is not the case. It is just because I have no income coming in at the moment 😉.
When the items came the steal purchase (you know the one you were excited to buy out of everything and the main reason your in this whole mess) was the wrong size. At this point, I thought no big deal I would just buy it in a smaller size, which was in stock earlier.
When I went to salvage what was left of this mission, something stopped me. I decided that there are 24 hours in a day and I should spend mine prioritising more important things, especially after dedicating so many hours ‘shopping with my eyes’.
Although at one point, I ‘found’ myself back on the website but this time I stopped and asked God, “should I go on the website?”. I heard a booming “NO!”
So I spent the day occupied with worthwhile things – reading my Bible, helping others, studying the Word (looking back I do not regret this decision because I received more spiritually than a piece of clothing could ever give me. I am sure this declaration is very displeasing to my flesh.)
However, before this enlightening realisation, I experienced real life merimnao lool!
The item was out of stock.
My reactions were pretty similar….
- I refreshed the page about 10 times.
- Googled their restocking procedures
- Emailed their customer service team at approx. 12:10am
- Searched for similar outfits
- Contemplated whether to get my size in the other colour that they had
- Talked smack about the company
- Checked out some of their other items 😑
- Checked my emails as soon as I woke up
- Replied back to their customer service, which was just like beating a dead horse. Out of stock means out of stock!
- And until this moment, I have been regularly checking for any stock updates
This is what Jesus meant by do not merimnao.
I was pulled apart with anxiety in the whole process of 1 to 10. I became distracted, almost obsessed by how I could resolve a situation that could not be resolved. It was all I could focus on. Even when I would forget, it would creep back on me. I was a hot mess 😪.
This merimnao feeling is unlike the feeling of concern or situations that call for a little bit of worry or are naturally worrying. You know the ones that just reaffirm that we are humans and not robots.
Even Wall-e’ seemed to succumb to worry at times evident by his doe eyes and trembling robotic murmurings.
But God’s Word calls us to be more than what is normalised in this world, in Christ Jesus. So even in ‘naturally’ worrying situations such as waiting on test results or the possibility getting into a car accident, we should not overwhelm ourselves with merimnao.
It sounds easier said than done for us…
For He knows how weak we are, He remembers we are only dust
Psalm 103: 14 (NKJV)
However, that is not something we should settle on because God repeatedly calls on us to be strong in Him.
Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power
Ephesians 6:1 (NLT)
So we are to be strong in Him. Seek strength in Him. Lean on Him. Depend on Him. It is only in Him that we have strength.
Strength to conquer situations where merimnao has festered and led us in a downward spiral.
It is only in Him that we gain wisdom to discern impeding situations that can lead to merimnao. Rest in this power, not your own.
He really cautions us out of love and not to restrict us. We know this yet we still do what we want to do. Although, doing our own thing may not be our immediate reaction but no matter how much time lapses, we are not showing faith in His promise that all our needs will be provided for.
My experience may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things or within the Christian encyclopaedia of all things important, but never underestimate the lessons that can be learned from trivial situations in helping you conquer strongholds you never thought were a problem.
I learned that I really hate not getting what I want. More importantly, that I need to ask God to help me with this feeling.
And that I have lost weight.