My dear mother, God rest her soul, was someone who could worry better than anyone I know. I am not certain why she spent so much energy thinking about the "what if's" that never happened, but her degree of anxiety over every day occurrences often put a damper on the day. In addition, she was overly concerned about her own health. Being a Medical Records Librarian, she had access to medical dictionaries and terminology books. If she had a symptom, she was certain to look it up in one of her books. This is akin to running to Google today to look up every symptom, pill, and procedure we are about to undergo. Unfortunately, it kept her from being able to relax and just enjoy life to the fullest extent. I know she loved the Lord, but she certainly had an issue with trusting Him.
Jesus taught us (Matthew 6:25-27): "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Whenever I read this passage, I find myself convicted all over again. We all have inherited the sin nature of Adam and with it, the ability to worry. Coming to Christ gives us the freedom from worry, but it takes time to break the old sin habits we have honed so well. So how do we accomplish this and live as Jesus describes?
First, we need to take life one day at a time and put it all in God's hands. Life can be overwhelming if we see all our responsibilities rather than breaking it down into doable tasks. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:34: "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." If we keep our eyes fixed on this day only, we can manage the work which needs to be done. Its when we look at tomorrow or next week or next month that we become overwhelmed and start to worry.
A second way to avoid worry is to begin our day with a time to pray and be quiet before the Lord. If we will calm our minds and feed our spirit on God's Word, we will reap peace rather than turmoil.
Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30: " Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Before we go to work or head out the door, we need to make certain we are yoked with Jesus trusting in His providence in our life that day. Furthermore, the Apostle Peter reminds us to "cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7). Both prayer and Bible study are key to keeping worry at bay.
In reality, worry is a form of fear. We are afraid of what might happen to us "if". Yet, Jesus promised us peace. John 14:27 tells us: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." We are commanded not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid. Besides, we have NO CONTROL over the circumstances of daily living. Certainly, we have our plans and we try to follow them, but there is no guarantee that every day will be smooth running. This is where our faith must grow as well as our trust in the Sovereign God who has promised us peace. My favorite verses in Proverbs speak
to this: (Proverbs 3:5-6) "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." What a great promise to cling to! Our problems arise when we try to live in our own understanding rather than having the mind of Christ in matters.
Finally, we must come to grips with the truth that worry is not good for our faith nor for our physical well being. More people become sick as a result of stress which is related to worry. Likewise, our home atmosphere can be filled with tension which everyone can feel. I love the quote from Corrie Ten Boom: "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength." She ought to know for she endured things which would make most of us fearful and worried. But God saw her through, gave her peace, filled her with His strength and lifted her burden because she trusted in Him. He will do the same for us.
Recognize that worry is sin. Confess it, take action to build your faith by praying, reading God's Word and casting your cares on Him moment by moment. By doing this routinely, we will develop the kind of faith that can move mountains - not in our own strength or understanding but in God's. After all He's got us covered. Selah!