I wonder how much time I’ve lost to worry? In the early years of our marriage I recall standing at our living room window, fixated on the driveway, heart pounding and staccato-like breathing. Tom should have been home. We had no cell phones. The sky was black and rain poured in hard sheets. My brain acutely visualized the foggy road with low visibility, where a number of paper mill employees had lost their lives. Waves of relief washed over me when he finally arrived.
I hate worrying.
Anxiety about family has been my Achilles’ heel. I worried when the kids started driving, when they traveled to other countries and I worry when they worry. I’ve worried often about my daughter, Dawn. I love them so much, and if I’m honest, I don’t imagine I’ll ever advance to complete freedom from worry.
I know this about worry: it shows a lack of trust in God and it accomplishes nothing but wasted time, a negative attitude and unhealthy physical symptoms.
I’ve had silly worries. What will people think of me? Will I sleep through the alarm? What if that lizard comes inside when I open the door? Then there are the multitudinous concerns about the state of our society and the suffering of friends and strangers. I’ll give myself grace while I grow in my surrender and trust in God. I want to adopt a healthier way to use my imagination.
Which one of you can add a single hour to your life or 18 inches to your height by worrying really hard? If worry can’t change anything, why do you do it so much?Luke 12:25-26 The Voice
Helpful action steps:
- Identify worries and give them to God.
When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul.Psalm 94:19
Since God cares for you, let HIm carry all your burdens and worries.1 Peter 5:7
Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praise-worthy.Philippians 4:6-8
- LIsten to the Helper.
I have spoken these words while I am here with you. The Father is sending a great Helper, the Holy Spirit, in my name to teach you everything and to remind you of all I have said to you. My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful.John 14: 25-27
I vividly remember a day when I was 27, driving to a check-up, late in pregnancy with my second child. My husband had decided he didn’t want to be married any longer. As I drove and prayed, baffled by my circumstances, God clearly spoke. “You are planted on the rock; you’ll endure whatever storms come.” In my mind I saw a distinction between sand as a shifty foundation and the Rock of Jesus which is immovable. I truly didn’t know what was ahead; for instance, that the child I carried would be profoundly intellectually disabled. She’d never speak or take care of herself. I also didn’t know God would give me a wonderful husband who’d love that daughter and my son as his own. God is merciful to withhold the future from us. We need to trust Him.
- Remember that God is always with you.
But, no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us. For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing––can come between us and the love of God revealed in the anointed, Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:37-39
We have confidence and peace because we’ll never be separated from God. All who know Him will live forever, but not in the life we know now. This life has an expiration date which only God knows. I want to let go of my worries and trust Him with the questions, unfulfilled desires, and unanswered prayers I have no control over. A believer’s death on earth is only a phase of life. The sting is felt by loved ones because of the poignant loss of a cherished one.
- Immerse yourself in the Psalms
When I was forced into a divorce I didn’t want, and very distraught, the Psalms were a great comfort. David experienced the most horrendous losses and pain and expressed his emotions honestly with great hope in God.
- Get outside and move your body.
- Take deep belly breaths and relax.
- Stay connected to friends and family.
- Spend less time watching news reports.
- Accomplish tasks that are in your control.
Of the awful experiences in my life, none of them were previous points of worry. They all came unexpectedly. Various researchers state that most of the things we worry about will never happen.
- Seek God and His Kingdom first.
Since you don’t need to worry—about security and safety, about food and clothing—then pursue God’s kingdom first and foremost, and these other things will come to you as well. Luke 12: 31
I confess I even worried in the night about completing this post. How unnecessary is worry!