(becoming) less of a worrier

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  –Philippians 4:6

The verse above is one many of us have often heard – and really tried to put into practice.  But how often do we try this before we’ve let our worries take root and grow – even bud, maybe even flourish?  God can, of course, overcome (and even root out) these worries; He’s bigger than any of our problems, even problems we’ve let get out-of-control.  But this process is often painful, and I’d encourage you to not let things get that far.  To rely on a cliché: I’d encourage you to nip your worries in the bud.  Or better yet, nip them in the roots.  Consider how much energy you’d save by letting go of worries as soon as they appear!

And I don’t think we should be flip about this issue: This verse doesn’t make light of our worries the way some people who quote it seem to think it does.  This verse doesn’t tell us to forget about our concerns.  It doesn’t tell us that our concerns are silly or not worth our time.  Instead, it tells us that the God of the Universe is concerned about these things too!  So concerned, in fact, that He’s offered to take them upon Himself.  To attend to them personally.  That, to me, shows that God does care, that He doesn’t take our anxieties lightly.  That He doesn’t think we’re silly or weak for worrying.

I don’t think the sin here is worry popping into our heads.  Worry is going to pop up in our heads as long as we’re concerned about others.  The sin here is holding on to this worry past its initial appearance.  Worry popping into our heads isn’t necessarily something we can control; but dwelling on it, rolling it around in our hearts and our heads – that is something we can control.

Our goal, then, needs to be to roll that worry to God as soon as it appears – to begin immediately speaking with Him, instead of ruminating about it on our own.  Whether we have any control of the situation or not, we ought to give it to God.  In situations when we do have some control, God can show us the best use of that control; He’s the one who knows what we should do, and He can enable us to do it.  In situations when we have no control, why not hand things over to God?  If we can’t do anything about them, it doesn’t seem smart to hold on to them ourselves.

The important thing, in either case, is immediately taking our worry to God, before it can take root and grow.  When we take it to God, our worry doesn’t disappear, and it doesn’t cease to matter – but it is attended to by Someone far more powerful, far better, and far smarter than us.  And this stronger, better, and smarter Person actually wants what’s best for us.  So, if we’re truly worried about a situation or truly concerned about a person, the only thing that makes sense is to hand the situation or the person over to God.  It’s better for the situation or person we’re concerned about (since God can actually help), it’s better for us (since it prevents us from sinning), and it’s better for God (since it frees us up to be used as He wants to use us).  Win-win-win. 

Consider: What do you find yourself worrying about over and over (maybe even though you’ve tried to hand it over to God)?  And how long do you usually worry about something before you try to hand it over to God?  I’d encourage you to set a challenge for yourself: How quickly can you present your worries to God?  And I’m talking here about actually handing them over – not just casually tossing them at Him: “I’m worried, here you go!”  I think such a careless approach often causes our worries to come back since, we haven’t really dealt seriously with them.

Instead, God asks us to have a conversation with Him about our anxieties.  A conversation in which several things happen: petition, thanksgiving, presentation (and, of course, listening throughout).  This isn’t some kind of “no-worry” spell.  God wants to talk with us about our concerns.  Tell God why you’re worried.  Then try telling Him why you don’t trust Him enough to hand over your worries.  I’m not being sarcastic here.  Verbalizing doubt can take away some of its power – and it gives God a chance to speak to you about the doubt you present.  When you verbalize your doubt, you might be able to hear how silly it is.  Or it might not be silly – in which case you might really need to deal with that doubt.  Listen for God to speak to you in either case.  He’s more than able to handle your doubt; give Him a chance to quiet your heart and help you trust Him more fully.

So, there’s the challenge: How quickly can you start your conversation with God when you start worrying?  5 minutes?  2 minutes?  10 seconds?  Post your best time below!

 

Want to read more?

Start of the fully submitted series: (becoming) fully submitted

Start of the wife series: (becoming) a godly wife

Start of the stewardship series: (becoming) a good steward

Start of the role model series: (becoming) a role model, part one

Start of the wisdom series: (becoming) wise, part one

Start of the Proverbs 6 series: (becoming) closer to God through Proverbs 6

Start of the Christmas series: (becoming) peaceful

 

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6 responses

  1. Your post is ever so relevant especially with the current economic climate we live in. I am surrounded by doom and gloomy people and its difficult to remember to cast my cares on God. I think for a lot of us its a problem of head knowledge (we know we’re supposed to be doing it) but it hasn’t descended into our hearts yet. My record for casting my worries on Him can vary from 10sec to months! I needed the reminder that really it should happen a whole lot quicker all round.

    1. I completely agree. So many people are down (some for very good reasons), and others just always seem grouchy. It’s easy for us to get caught up in that sort of attitude before we even realize it. And my record is about like yours! Sometimes I’m pretty good at it — other times, not so much. Hopefully we’ll both be improving our averages this year. 🙂

  2. Proverbs 3:6…in all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. First passage I thought of when I read your post, which I love. Everyone should take these words to heart and act upon them accordingly.

    1. Love it! This is such a great verse.

  3. After recently seeing my mother do this (she is not a Christian unfortunately), her worries and concerns grow in her head and heart and become hug and unrealistic- I discovered I have picked up that same habit from her. I worry a lot about specific things and they become worse the longer I mull it over and the longer I wait to talk with God about it and discuss it with Him- I also do things He hasn’t guided me to do when I try handling things on my own! Thank you for this post :o)

    1. I can definitely relate to the fact that worries become worse the longer we mull them over instead of giving them to God. Most of my worries are totally unrealistic, but they manage to pick up steam in a hurry when I let them hang around.

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