Worry-or OR Warrier?
Is “worry” a sin? I asked myself this question years ago. I have been a great Worry-or! Fretting about how my kids are doing. They are all adults now. Worrying about the state of the world. It is really a mess. Worrying about what to fix for dinner, what to wear…next week for that appointment that I have yet to schedule! YIKES! How much time, energy and peace of mind am I consuming just on worry? All things that I cannot change.
Dr. Caroline Leaf (www.dr.leaf.com )maintains that worry, anxiety, fretting, and toxic thinking actually cause brain damage. The Apostle Paul exhorts us that because the Lord provides for everything we need and that He watches over us, cares for us and Loves us fully, that we need not worry or be anxious about ANYTHING. Millions-perhaps billions—of dollars are spent every year by folks attempting to alleviate stress, worry and fretting. Yet we continue to be addicted to anxiety and worry, thinking that this will somehow make our lives better. We think that we will get results from other people if we worry enough. I get sucked in the false thinking that somehow the situation will turn out better if I worry, fret and loose sleep over it.
Of course, when there is a difficult situation we must pray and sometimes even speak words of wisdom into a person’s life or take responsibility for our part in making the situation better. But most of the time, I confess, my mind springs forth toward worry, and anxiety. Then my shoulders get tight, my jaw clenches, my thoughts race and my stomach is in knots. Is there a remedy? Is there hope to live another way? Yes! There is. It is somewhat simple -just offer it to God, pray or, as Bob Newhart portrayed in his skit playing a psychiatrist: “Just Stop It!” Believers know that Jesus has given us peace with God. He invites us to take each thought captive and to follow Him when we are in distress. We can give our worry to him, put on our Warrior armor, and think about new, right and healthy things. Things that are true, right, pure, admirable…well, you know the list.
We know all this in our minds, but how do we let it drop down into our heart and make it our daily practice? Worry is first a deep hearted belief that God either does not exist, doesn’t care or is powerless to care for us and our loved ones. Even the most fervent believers have some sort of doubt lurking in the depth of the soul. “He doesn’t care about me.” “God loves me, but this situation is not that important.” “I don’t have enough faith.” “I don’t really matter.” These common thought/beliefs can undermine the greatest in the “hall of faith”.
There are many scriptures that we can count on to lead us from the depths and despair of worry back into the pastures of peace. Sometimes it is as simple as thinking about one of these: “The Lord is near, do not be anxious”, or “Peace I give to you”, or “Be not afraid, I am with you”. Each person has his/her favorites. Practice is needed daily, minute by minute or even breath by breath. When the old anxious thought comes up we must be swift to look at it and call it what it is. There are many ways to become mindful of these nasty thoughts. And, it is a battle.
The good news? God is always ready to intercept our anxious, fretful thinking. We are told to “put on our armor daily”. Fear, anxiety, worry, regret, unforgiveness, doubt and the like are formidable foes. To be a warrior I must study my enemy (i.e. the actual toxic thoughts that lead to the anxiety and worry), I must be in shape and ready for battle. We must study God’s word to know His character and His intimate Love for each person, and we must be part of an army or platoon of other believers to work together on strategy and support. The battle is ours and it is His. We have our part and He will always do His part.
Will you be a “Worry-or” OR a Warrior today? If you know Jesus, the Prince of Peace you have hope that your battle will be won!