WORRY* (by Janine Mick Wills)
Before you ask yourself, “Who me? Worry?” Let’s admit it. I worry. You worry. We all worry sometimes!
Newsflash: You’re not going to get out of this life (And sometimes even out of this day!) without something coming up that you COULD worry about.
Worry can be beneficial if it causes us to consider or reevaluate a situation. But when we continue to gnaw on a something or fear and not trust God (Commonly called “anxiety”), worry becomes a problem. Anxiety can affect you emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. According to WebMD, chronic worrying can cause these physical maladies (Read Psalm 38 to see how David’s body responded to worry):
Inability to concentrate
Shortness of breath
Trembling and twitching
Suppression of the immune system
Short-term memory loss
Premature coronary artery disease
So, what does God say about worry, and what can we do about it?
God wants His children to trust in Him instead of worrying.
Psalm 37:3, 4 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Psalm 91:1, 2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Proverbs 3:5, 6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Matthew 6:25, 26 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Colossians 3:15a And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…
I am currently dealing with a health issue. Beside the fact I HATE going to doctors and HATE taking medicine even more so, I’ve been putting it off. Am I worried there might be something wrong with me? No, not really. Not enough to make that phone call to get an appointment. But my kids sure have been worried. “Mom, you’ve got to call and go see a doctor!” and “Momma, have you called the doctor yet?” Which goes to prove that we all have worry-levels. That point where concern slides into worry and then falls smack-dab into anxiety. One man’s (or woman’s) worry is a full-blown panic attack for someone else). It’s all in how we perceive the who, what, where, when, and why’s of our lives.
But God doesn’t want us to worry. In fact, His Word says in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God can take our worry of today and turn it into something glorious for tomorrow or in the future if we’d only trust Him. If we can trust Him for eternal life, surely we can trust Him for our day-to-day lives!
Instead of worrying, a Christian is to take their concerns to the Lord, believing He will take care of them.
Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Philippians 4:6, 7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Quick. What’s the first thing you do when a problem occurs? Do you:
A) Call a friend?
B) Whine to your husband?
C) Down a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream?
D) Sit down and figure out what you’re going to do about it?
E) Ask the Lord for help?
I must admit. I often do D), but sometimes I do C) except it would be Moose Tracks ice cream! And I do whine to my husband now and again. Wouldn’t it be better if I combined A), my best Friend God and E) ask Him for help? Only He knows the beginning from the end and all the messy but sometimes delightful stuff in between. He wants us to trust Him in the midst of trials, so He can show Himself strong on our behalf. And use that opportunity to teach us, so we might grow more into the image of His dear Son!
It really is a win-win situation, if we can stop long enough to pray and seek God’s face and His solution to our problem(s)! (1 Peter 1:6, 7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
A Christian is to concern herself with the things of God, and He will take care of her needs (food, clothing, etc.).
Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 2 Corinthians 3:4, 5 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.
This is easier said than done. We take for granted that each day we’ll have food to eat (When was the last time you prayed, “Lord, there’s no food in the cupboard, please provide”?). And how many of us stand in front of our closet for ten minutes, trying to figure out which outfit to wear? Sometimes this self-sufficiency keeps us from trusting God every minute of every hour of our day. As Solomon said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?” (Proverbs 30:8, 9).
We need to step back and realize how dependent we are or need to be dependent upon God. Then we can transfer that dependency to Him as well when we begin to worry. At that very moment we should say, “God, I trust you for ALL things. Please help me with this _________.” He’s waiting as a loving Father to help, but He never forces Himself upon us. It’s up to us to keep those floodgates of communication open.
A Christian who worries is showing the tendencies of the unsaved.
Matthew 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Let me ask a personal and upfront question, “If an unsaved person followed you around all day for a week, would that person see Christ and want to have Him as personal Savior?”
As much as we might not want to admit or like the idea, we are a walking talking advertisement for our Lord. If we act and talk like the world, why would the world want our Christ? And I have news for you, someone, somewhere IS watching you. So, let that person see “see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Part of your “good works” is handling hardships and tough decisions in a way that honors your Lord. You never can tell when someone, who has seen you handle a trial by not worrying and instead trusting God, may ask what’s different about you (But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9).
Don’t worry about the future. Today is what counts.
Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
So often, the things we worry about never come to pass. Or if they do, we deal with it, pick up the pieces (If necessary), and keep on going. God made us resilient; we can bounce back or at the least, live to fight another day. Make a list of five things that have happened in the past few years that were a matter of concern. How did you respond? What happened? What was the end result? More than likely you made it through and are a stronger individual because of it. You might have used that situation to help someone else going through the same thing (2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God). Or found out that the things that at one time caused worry and grief are now a source of blessing as you look back and see how God brought you through (James 1:3, 4 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing).
Worry affects a Christian’s sleep.
Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Proverbs 3:24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Ephesian 4:26, 27 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.
Has worrying ever kept you from getting a good night’s sleep? I’d venture to say, it has. It’s hard to relax when your mind’s in a knot, and from the above verses, it’s certainly not God’s intent. God gives us sleep to rejuvenate and reinvent ourselves (The body repairs itself while we sleep.) (Click here for some ideas on how to get a better night’s sleep and “Wake Up with a Smile on Your Face”.)
Pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists are the only ones who benefit from worry. So, let’s put them out of business! At the first sign of worry, take it to the Lord in prayer and let Him lead and guide you (Psalm 31:3). Then kiss your worries “Good-bye!”
*The following has been modified from a counseling project I completed while attending Ambassador Baptist College. I pray it will help those struggling with worry.