“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried” (Luke 10:41 NIV).
This is a big one, my friends, I know that I am not alone. We try so hard not to worry, and yet we do. We do. We worry about whether or not we will every get married. Will we have children? Will they be smart? And popular and adorably cute? Will my parents be proud of me? Will I bring them honor all of my days? Will my friends accept me? Will I live a long life? Or will I always be afraid of what’s coming around the next bend?
And you probably know without me saying, God doesn’t like worrywarts. He promises us that He has everything under control, but, for some reason, we still think He needs our help.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34
Worry is a debilitating disease. In case you glossed over those words too rapidly, Iam going to say it again…worry is a debilitating disease. It consumes you. It devours you. It diminishes you. It is harmful to you. Takes power over you. And prevents you from doing God’s work. It gunks up the inside of you like a newly tarred road sticks to the bottom of your car. It prevents you from being who you are as a child of God.
You have been set free.
But will you take a step of faith to believe it?
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14
For many years I was such a slave to worry. Yes, it does rear its ugly head again from time to time, but fortunately, some progress has been made. In the past, worry was almost a way of life. I used to worry about almost anything. What should I wear today? Will my weekend plans be rained out? Do my kids have any friends? Does my husband still love me?
There is never a shortage of things to worry about. Turn on the news and it is easy to get caught up. Will this happen to me? How will I respond? And suddenly, we are in way over our head. Our thoughts run rampant, projecting someone else’s crisis as our own.
This was me. I was a professional worrier. It was who I was. It was a part of me. My identity. Part of my DNA. Like a good friend, I took worry with me all the time. She was a constant companion.
Our sin creeps in ever so slightly that it becomes our normal. To think or behave any differently would seem unusual. In fact, we might even be afraid of what our lives would look like in its absence. What would we do without worry? What would we think about? Would we still be able to carry on a conversation with our friends?
My husband is a Pediatric Emergency Physician and for years, he worked long night shifts. He would arrive home at 7 am after working a 10-hour shift. Numerous times he would mention that he didn’t even remember driving home. Occasionally, he said he caught himself dozing off at the wheel. Well then, to no surprise, my mind went to dark places. I suddenly imagined myself as a widow with several kids to raise on my own. No job. Depleted bank account. Lonely and afraid.
I wish I could say this was a one and done thought. That I was able to push this brain drain idea out of my mind. But nope. I tarried on it over and over and over again. I would run different scenarios out in my head….even down to what songs we would sing at his funeral.
My worry sucked the living life right out of me. And worst yet, I was worried over something that wasn’t even real.
Then one day, I heard a sermon about confronting your fear and it was a life changer. A simple, yet penetrating question was posed, “What if?” What if your greatest fear actually happened? What if you allow your thoughts to go there? And once you are at rock bottom, ask yourself this question, “Is God not big enough for _____________________ (whatever seems impossible to you)? Is He incapable of pulling you through?”
As those words hit me, I realized that I had put limits on God. I willingly gave Him pieces of me, but not the nooks and crannies of my soul. I had placed my hopes on what I could see, rather than fixing my gaze on eternity. It was time to get a heavenly perspective. It was time to fix my eyes on the Lord.
Our circumstances can become overwhelming when we look at our life through earthly eyes. There is a man in the Old Testament whose name is Habakkuk. His circumstances were pretty unbearable. Fig trees were dying and the crops were drying up. There was no food to be found. Look where God took him to gain a new point of view.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
- Plant your feet so firmly that your thoughts are not constantly waving with the wind. Continually remind yourself that Jesus has set you free.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV
- Surrender wholly and completely to God. Allow God to personally address your greatest fears and worries. Catch a higher glimpse since this world is not what we are living for. Climb up on the mountaintop today with God, asking Him to give you a different view of your circumstances.
- Remind yourself of God’s presence. He is doing a good work right now in your midst.
What do you believe about God when you worry? Turn to God’s Word to confront worry with truth.