Life is full of anxieties. It doesn’t matter where you work or where you live or how much money you have. Anxiety is something you can’t get away from, and the only way to handle it is to deal with it.
You can try to ignore it, but if you just set it aside without actually dealing with the root of the problem, your anxieties and your worries will continue to scream at an ever-worsening pitch until you can’t focus on anything else.
So how do you deal with worry and anxiety? What do you do? Is there a twelve-step program? Is there a magic pill you can take? Hardly. But there is a book to read that has some insight on how to deal with worrying.
Today’s verses are Philippians 4:6-7.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I know. Not the thing you probably want to read. I know it’s not what I want to hear either because it’s one of those answers that’s simple and complex at the same time.
Don’t worry about anything? Is Paul serious?
Well, yes. He’s absolutely serious. And if we compare our lives to his, I’d bet that he had more right to worry than we do.
Worrying is a choice. It’s just like anything else we choose to think about, and we don’t have to let our minds do whatever they want.
Paul is saying here that we need to choose not to worry. Just don’t do it. At all. About anything. And maybe that sounds impossible, maybe that sounds harsh, maybe it sounds unreasonable–because after all, some worrying is good, isn’t it?
Personally, I don’t think so. Because concern only goes so far before it turns into worry, and worry is a major distraction in our lives.
We can choose not to worry. So choose not to worry today. Whatever is happening in your life, whatever is going right, whatever is going wrong, choose not to worry. Instead of looking at everything that is going wrong or that could go wrong or that went wrong, think about what God did to bring you there to begin with.
Talk to God about it. Tell Him what your problems are. Trust Him to work them out. No, you may not see results immediately, but if you trust Him, you’ll see something, whether it’s through another person or through an event or through reading Scripture.
Worry drags us down. It turns us into people who aren’t much fun to be around. And it’s absolutely the easiest sin to fall into because it seems harmless. I mean, how is my worrying going to hurt someone else?
Well, it doesn’t start off hurting others. It starts off by hurting you. If all your energy is focused on worrying, you will begin to see the damage in physical ways. It will damage you physically. It will damage you emotionally. And it will damage you spiritually because when you get right down to it, worry is telling God He doesn’t know what He’s doing. It’s a lack of trust in what God has promised, and that will hurt your relationship with Him.
And then, as it progresses, worry will eventually begin to damage your earthly friendships as well. It will raise a barrier between you and people who love you.
Worry is an insidious sin, stealthy and nagging. Even when you think you’ve mastered it, worry will continue to creep up behind you and whisper in your ears. But worry can be forced away.
Maybe it’s denial, but worry is something you can’t just ignore. You have to set it aside. You have to forcibly remove it and set it on the top shelf where it will gather dust until God provides a way to take care of it. But you have to let go of it. You have to put it away.
That part is difficult for me, because worrying is somewhat comforting in a sadistic way.
But as long as you hold on to worry and anxiety, you won’t know peace. And if you don’t know peace, you’re not going to be happy. So today, whatever you’re worrying about, put it down. Stop focusing on it. Change your mind about it and focus on what God is doing that you can see and feel.
Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing, and He has promised to take care of it all.
As I was writing this post today, I had a song stuck in my head, and it made me smile. So I thought I would share.