Why You Worry (and What You Can Do About It)

Are you a person who worries a lot?  

Maybe it’s the result of waiting on medical results.  Or, it could be the effect of having a child that is going through one of those phases.  Your job could cause you to worry or you may have anxiety from feeling like you’re in over your head.  

I can relate, trust me.  Just ask my wife or my team at work- they could list for you my insecurities or reasons for worry.  

Worry can get the best of you if you aren’t careful. It will put extra wrinkles on your forehead and produce fewer hours of sleep at night.  Have you ever known someone who looked much older than they really were?  Those are the people who we say something like, “He’s had a hard life- that’s why he looks so old!”  In short, worry will produce a result in your mind and body if you let it.

The most dangerous thing though about worry is what it can do to your spiritual life.  First, worry can be a sign of not fully accepting God’s unconditional love for you.  Some of us are too hard on ourselves because we don’t fully, completely, passionately accept that God is head over heals for us.  Think on that for a bit… it will rock your world.

Worry can also be a sign that we don’t fully trust God’s providence in our life.  Think about it in another way.  If I told my son Thomas that he can trust me to get him to school on time and then he spends the entire day before school worrying about whether or not we’ll arrive on time.  Talk about wasted energy on his part but worse yet, it would signal a lack of confidence in me as his dad.  (And I’m a pretty solid driver I might add.)

To avoid worry, we should lock in to the two fold practice of a) Accept God’s love and b) Trust that He knows what He’s doing.  A few passages from Scripture come to mind:

“So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.”  Matt. 6:33-34 (NLT)

And another that is helpful when we think of worrying,

“Give yourselves completely to God since you have been given new life.” Rom. 6:13b (NLT)

Worry doesn’t ever fully go away but you can lessen its effects through the following suggestions:

  1. The moment you are tempted to worry, take your concern immediately to prayer.  It doesn't matter if you're at work or driving to an appointment- pray!
  2. Talk about what you feel like worrying about with someone you trust.  This could be a spiritual director of a trusted friend.
  3. Build a team around yourself that you can have total confidence in.  I often brag about my team at work because I trust them completely- that makes me worry less often.
  4. Revisit Scripture often so that you are countering worry’s effects with the reassuring and continual Presence of God.  The Bible's wisdom doesn't go out of style.

I worry a lot.  I’m admittedly trying to get better and trust God more but worry is something that is always just around the corner.  Maybe you can relate.  If you are responsible for anyone besides yourself (a spouse, a child, an organization, a church, a town), it’s even more important that you learn to counter the temptation of worry.  

Fortunately, worry doesn’t have to get the best of you.  With some practice you’ll worry less and draw even closer to God. 

What are the things that you most often worry about?  What techniques do you practice when worry creaps in?

Photo courtesy of FS