I am a worrier.
I come by it naturally. Both of my parents are worriers too. There wasn’t a night I worked late that my mom wasn’t right there on the couch waiting for me to come home. And the one time I showed up 20 minutes late (I was parked in and had to wait for someone to move their car), my dad was already out looking for me by the time I got home.
I suppose you could say it runs in the family.
Honestly, I don’t even worry about that many things, but the things I do worry about–I worry about a lot. Like checking the oven before I go to bed. Not just once, but multiple times.
And when we have to leave the house for more than a few hours, you can literally hear me purposely deep breathing in order to stay calm. Yeah, I’m kind of nuts like that.
The Truth About Worry
Ask your average person “Should Christians worry?” and you’ll probably get a pretty nonchalant answer like “Well, we probably shouldn’t, but it’s not really a big deal.” Or “Well, I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it.”
Except… there’s one thing you may not have realized…
When you worry, you are saying that God can’t handle it or that God won’t handle it.
You are saying God isn’t in control. That God can’t handle it. That God doesn’t have a plan. That God doesn’t have the resources at His easy disposal. Or that He wouldn’t give them to you if He did. That He would withhold them and watch you suffer.
You are saying that God doesn’t love you enough to provide for you. That He doesn’t care about your situation. That He is distant, cold and unfeeling. That he has forgotten about you. That you are a better parent than He is. After all–you take care of your children. But He can’t be trusted to take care of His…
When you worry, you are saying that the outcome of the situation depends on you–not God. You are saying that YOU are in control. And that no one else is responsible or trustworthy enough to handle the situation–including God.
And yet, that’s the opposite of what the Bible says.
Matthew 6 says:
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? …
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
–Matthew 6:25-26, 30-33 (emphasis mine)
These passages make it very plain that we are not to worry–that God has it ALL under control! And they aren’t the only ones either. The Bible is full of verses encouraging us to live and faith and stories outlining the numerous times when God has come through. You just have to believe them and act upon them…
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How to Stop Worrying
Knowing you aren’t supposed to worry and actually stopping are two completely different things, however. So how do you actually stop worrying and trust God to have everything all under control? Here’s what I recommend:
The next time you start to worry, take your worry and turn it into a prayer instead. Let it be a reminder to go to God in everything. Ask God for His help and guidance, and then thank Him for the things He is already doing and will do to work out the situation. I find that when I purposely choose a heart of gratitude, many of my worries quickly disappear.
2. Meditate on Encouraging Bible Verses
Joshua 1:8 tells us that we are to meditate on the word day and night, and there is no better time to remember God’s promises than when we are worried.
Ready to start memorizing and meditating on Scripture? Simply get started with a few of these verses specifically about worry:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Find a verse you love, write it down, post it somewhere you’ll see it often, memorize it, and repeat it to yourself often. You might be surprised how much such a little step can help!
3. Take Every Thought Captive
Okay, this might sound simplistic, but the next time you find yourself worrying about something, simply refuse to entertain those thoughts anymore. No, you may not be able to keep the thoughts from popping up on their own randomly, but you CAN refuse to let them linger.
The next time you begin to worry, force yourself to think about something else instead. Pray, remember a Bible verse, go for a run, sing a song, read a book, talk to your spouse, paint your toenails–anything you can do to focus your mind on something positive instead.
This post gives really great step-by-step instructions on how to take every thought captive. Definitely worth a read!
4. Live Out Your Victory
Chances are, you’re probably familiar with 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” but there’s one thing you may have overlooked.
This verse doesn’t say that you are becoming a new creation. It doesn’t say that you can hopefully be better down the road someday if you try really hard. It says you ARE a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here.
As Christians, Satan tries to tell us that not only do we not measure up now, but we never will. This simply is not true. As Christians we ARE a new creation. We CAN stop worrying. And it’s time to live in that truth.
5. Keep Walking Day by Day
Does that mean you are going to be perfect right away? No, of course not. But every time you choose to take your thoughts captive for Christ and live out your victory, your faith grows that much more as a result. Make every day a little better than the last and you may be surprised how your faith grows as a result.
A Few More Quick Tips:
Okay, these aren’t all super spiritual, but these are what help me:
- Worried you forgot to do something? Think of a random cue word when you do it. (Like marshmallow or tiger). Then, when you start to worry “Did I do that?” — as long as you can remember your cue word, you know you did. (Because you wouldn’t have a cue word if you hadn’t done the task.)
- You can also put a small check mark on your hand or a slip of paper.
- Or, intentionally misplace something and remember where you put it. If you can remember moving your curling iron from the bathroom to your bedroom, you know it’s off because you remember moving it. I usually remember which way the cord is facing. If I can visualize the cord on the floor, I know it’s not plugged in.
- Logically consider the worst case scenario–is it really that bad? How likely is it to happen? For example, if I forget to lock the front door before I run to the grocery for an hour, someone could break in, but would they? It’s very unlikely. And even if they did, no one would get hurt because no one is home and all of our stuff is replaceable. We’d be fine.
I think if most of us were being honest, we would admit that we don’t enjoy worrying and that we know we should stop, but we simply don’t know how or feel like we can’t. The good news is, nothing could be further from the truth.
Are you a worrier? How do you overcome it?