As a child, I used to sing a chorus by Eugene Peterson that says, “Why worry, when you can pray. Trust Jesus . . .” Here’s an arrangement I found on Youtube:
Philippians 4:6-7 says:
“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.” (NLT)
In A Confident Heart, Rene Swope says we can conquor worry with the following three steps:
STEP ONE – Stop worrying: “press the pause button on . . . consuming concerns.” We all know this is easier said than done. Often we fall into some routine worrying in our lives. This is my list:
- What if I don’t meet that person’s expectations?
- What if I fail?
- What if I don’t meet this writing deadline?
- What if my marriage falls apart?
If I can choose to press the “pause button” and examine what I’m worried about, I realize I’m wasting my energy fretting about many things I don’t have control over. I will always fail to meet someone’s expectations. I will not always succeed at what I do. Some writing deadlines won’t be met. Without God’s grace, my marriage will fall apart. Even if these things do happen, will it be the “end of my world” so to speak? No. The problem comes when I base my worth and significance on anything other than God.
People will fail me and I will fail others. After all, we’re human. But, God doesn’t love me because of anything I do. He loves me because He chooses to love me. There isn’t anything I can do to make God love me more . . . AND There isn’t anything I can do to make God love me less. My whole world may fall apart, but I can be secure in God’s love. I don’t need to worry!
STEP TWO – Start praying: “tell God what I need.” We all know what it’s like trying to stop a bad habit. If we don’t fill the void of a bad habit with a good habit, we’ll fail every time. We can’t just stop worrying. If we focus on not worrying, we’ll end up worrying more. Instead, we need to pray. God is our Heavenly Father.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
STEP THREE – Keep thanking God: “remind (your) heart of God’s goodness by thanking Him for what He’s done.” Many of us are familiar with Ann Voskamp’s book 1,000 Gifts. Every day we have a choice. We can let worry overtake and paralyze us, or we can choose gratitude. Worry and gratitude are mutually exclusive – they cannot co-exist in our minds.
- Instead of worrying about people’s expectations, I can thank God that He created me as a unique individual and He loves me.
- Instead of worrying about failures, I can thank God that He knows my weaknesses. I can also thank Him that “. . . we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
- Instead of worrying about missed deadlines, I can do my best to meet the deadlines and thank God for the results. My schedule is not always God’s schedule!
- Instead of worrying that my marriage may fall apart, I can do my best to be a loving wife and mother. I can thank God for my husband. I can choose to respect him and honor him. Even if a spouse dies or chooses to leave, God never abandons us
What about you? What worries nag at you? What will you choose to be thankful for today?