There is something that just about everyone partakes in, some more than others. Many of us just can’t help ourselves while others embrace it and feel it is important to their life. Of course, I’m speaking of worry. Worry is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems. What do we worry about? Studies have revealed that the average person’s anxiety is focused on the following top five things:
1. We worry about things that will never happen
2. We worry about things from the past that can’t be changed
3. We worry about criticism by others
4. We worry about health (which gets worse with stress)
5. We worry about real problems that will be faced
Worry can affect our focus on important things, like God. In fact, worry distracts us from God. A great illustration of this is found in the story of two sisters in Luke 10:38-42. It is the story of Mary and Martha where we find that Martha is distracted and anxious about the details. She is busy in the kitchen getting everything ready for a big meal, and I’m sure, making everything match, everything fit, everything looking just right. Martha’s anxiety was distracting her from more important things. Meanwhile, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, enjoying his presence and teaching. After Martha complains about her “lazy” sister to Jesus, He responds that Mary is focused on the important thing while Martha is anxious about many things.
Worry keeps us in control, not God. When we worry, the result is we’re taking back the control from God and leaving it up to ourselves to figure it all out. How’s that going for you? Probably not well because worry never gives you answers. It falsely gives one a feeling of “doing” something yet it never does.
The good news is God personally cares about the things that worry us and consume our thoughts. He cares more about them than we care about them. Nothing escapes His notice. 1 Peter 5:7 says “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” When things are tough is often when it is most difficult to trust God. We may doubt that God is going to come through for us, or we lack faith in His promises. This is exactly opposite of how God wants us to react to the difficult circumstances in our lives. God wants us to trust Him when we’re having doubts and unsure about what to do. He wants us to believe in His promises, especially when we think that things are going to get worse.
Trust is defined as a belief that someone or something is reliable, good, and honest. That is God! Proverbs 3:5-6 says “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.” We need to trust God in all areas of our life including finances, health, relationships, family members, and the future.
So what can we do to combat worry? First, pray to stop worrying and thank God for all He has done in your life. Pray Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) which 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.” The apostle Paul gives us clear direction that to combat worry we need to give the worries or concerns to God and thank Him for all that He has done. If we do this, the result is God’s peace in our lives and who does not want to experience God’s peace? We all do! Second, focus on good God things. Philippians 4:8 says “…fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” When we focus on positive events, memories, plans, etc., then it’s hard to be worried about everything else. Finally, lean on the Holy Spirit. He is our helper, encourager, intercedes for us, and gives us wisdom to understand God.
The bottom line to combat worry is to focus on God, trust in Him, and give all worries to Him.