Worry is a pesky intruder that threatens to undermine everything God wants us to enjoy. Worry shows up when we are out of control, fearful, doubting ourselves or someone else, or view the fuzzy unknown without holding onto God’s hand.
We often treat worry as a necessary evil, something we can’t fight or live without.
Jesus teaches the opposite.
He’s with a trampling crowd while he tries to teach his disciples about hypocrisy, real enemies, and the futility of greed (Luke 12:1-21). Then he turns to the subject that has plagued humankind since Adam and Eve left the Garden without their next meal.
“Life” Jesus said, “is more than food . . . and clothes.” (Luke 12:23) He reminded them that worry doesn’t add hours to life, it subtracts them.
Today, research corroborates this allegation. Worry, especially chronic worry, lowers the immune system and creates a vulnerability for any number of physical problems that can and will shorten life.
So Jesus asks the million-dollar question we still can’t answer:
Why do you worry?
Perhaps because it takes more effort to trust God than to let the what-ifs whir around inside until we’ve lost coping skills.
Since there is no spiritual or physical benefit to worry, we need to treat worry like my spiritual mentor taught:
We need to see worry as an enemy who comes in the back door of our unguarded thoughts to steal our equilibrium, our true identity in Christ, and the truth that what God knows will always take us farther than what we don’t know.
We need to stop treating worry as something we can’t control, a natural response to everything unknown or unwanted. We need to stop saving the guest room for worry!
How do we do that?
Here’s my list:
Review what God knows that I do not. Trust Who knows more.
Consider the critical answers God brought in the past. Then, place every unknown in His capable hands.
Keep a few “Do not worry” verses close by. Philippians 4:6 is my favorite:
Don’t worry about anything.Instead pray about everything.
Tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers.(TLB)
Ask God what you can do while you wait for an answer or peace. Focused action diffuses worry.
Make a grateful list. Worry and gratitude can’t co-exist.
Whatever your big, scary questions are about your future, your day, or the lives of those you love; worry won’t help. Worry is a heart attack that won’t show up on the tests . . . for a while. Worry is not the gift God wants you to live with today or any day.
Reconnect with the worth you are to God. Rehearse His unfailing love. Trust that God has every thread of some unraveling piece of life and knows how to weave them into a work of art that brings more of what you thought was disintegrating.
Pray this worry-less prayer with me . . .