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Worry is what we do when we desperately want to control circumstances that are completely out of our hands. It is a perfectly human reaction to seemingly extraordinary events. And it’s all in our heads.
It’s when something occurs unexpectedly in our lives and we imagine the worst possible outcome. Sound familiar?
The good news is that the Bible says a lot about worry. Let’s dive in and study the Bible to see what it says about this important topic.
Worry In The Bible
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Worry is also unhealthy, literally. When we worry we trigger negative responses in our bodies.
Anxiety and fear (synonyms for worry) can affect the nervous system, muscles, and breathing, as well as cause problems in the heart, stomach, and intestines. The immune system may be compromised as well as blood sugar levels.
Even our sexual health can be affected when we worry. Just check any health or medical website and you’ll see just how detrimental worrying can be to our bodies.
What Does Worry Mean?
Most often, worry means we worry about things that have yet to take place. We hear some news and immediately begin to imagine all the terrible things that could occur.
Many times we begin making decisions based entirely on “what might happen”. Here are a few examples. Perhaps you’ll find yourself in one of them.
- You hear on the news that a big storm is coming and decide to go shopping in order to stock up on the most necessary household items and find yourself surrounded by hundreds of other worriers panicking in the cereal and beverage aisles. After all, this monster storm could mean the end of days.
- The NYSE takes a dive a few hundred points and you join the ranks of the shareholders as everyone scrambles to protect their investments because you “could lose it all”.
- Annual job evaluations are coming up and you sit at your desk biting your nails and updating your CV just in case you “get canned”. You haven’t been able to focus on work for a week, let alone spend quality time with the family.
- You have put off yet another much-needed family vacation because you’re saving every last penny for the kids’ college education. After all, a university education is the only option available.
- You and your spouse are considering having a baby, but the more you think about it the more you feel like you won’t be able to afford to give the child everything they will need, especially as you stroll down the diaper aisle calculating just how much it will cost to keep the little one’s bottom dry.
Does any of that sound familiar? Touch a nerve? Make you nod your head? We’ve all been there. It’s “second nature” for us to worry. We want so much to have the power to influence circumstances that are obviously out of our control.
What The Bible Says About Worry
What Does God Say About Worry?
If you are a Christian you understand that we have a Heavenly Father who cares deeply for us and sees every need, even before we do.
Knowing the worrywarts that we are God took the time to include a myriad of Scriptures about worry in the bible to teach us, and to remind us, that we should not be anxious for anything. One of those passages is found in Matthew. Let’s read it together:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:25-34 NKJV
God knew we, as humans, would have the tendency to worry. So, what’s the anecdote? The Bible says that instead of worrying, we are to have faith and surrender all to Him. Here are some practical – and biblical – scriptures that we can take towards freedom from worry.
Don’t Worry Trust God
Here are some highlighted scriptures to help you gain freedom from worrying…Don’t Worry Trust God.
“Pray, with thanksgiving. Present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6
“Don’t let your heart be troubled.” John 14:27
“Cast your concerns onto Him.” Psalm 55:22
“Remember that God has called you according to His purpose and will work all things out for your good.” Romans 8:28
“Do not be dismayed or overwhelmed. He will strengthen you.” Isaiah 41:10
“Remember that He will console you and fill you with joy, as you trust him with your burdens.” Psalm 94:19
“Humble yourself before the Lord.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
“Reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness even with the smallest of his creation.” Luke 12:22-26
“Know that there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from God’s love and care.” Romans 8:38-39
Do Not Worry About Tomorrow
When asked of Randy Alcorn, “How does worry poison our joy?” he responded with the following:
“The Greek word for worry means to divide the mind — and our mind gets divided. And the most striking characteristic of worry and the way that it kills joy is through its absolute impotence. Because no tornado has ever been stopped, no drought has ever been averted; no plane crash has ever been prevented by worry. And so what happens is we pour our time and energy into it, and then if it really did something of any benefit whatsoever, we could at least say, “It was worth all the good that came out of my worry” — except no good ever comes out of it. And so Jesus assures us that if we put God and his kingdom first, in his sovereignty he will take care of us (Matthew 6:33). In the next verse, he says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Click this Randy Alcon link to read the rest of this interview.
Worry causes us to plan, plan, plan. We’re told that if we don’t plan, we “plan to fail”. Yet many of us find ourselves planning so much that we don’t have time to live.
Don’t get me wrong. Planning has its place. But we were created to enjoy the life that God has given us. We cannot spend so much time planning out the future that we miss out on the little joys of today.
Sure, we have our priorities. We don’t throw those out the window just because we’re trying to “live in the moment”. I’m just saying, stop. Take a deep breath. Look up to the sky. Close your eyes and feel the breeze on your face.
Listen to the laughter of the children. Take a walk on the beach. Reflect on the incredible, undeserving goodness of God. Trust Him. And let His peace, which is beyond our understanding, guard your heart in Christ Jesus.
About the Author: Summer is a wife and mother to two children on the brink of adolescence. Over sixteen years ago she moved to Guatemala as a single missionary and met her husband there. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom. She enjoys puzzles, making jewelry, singing on the worship team, and, of course, writing. Check out her new blog, Life is a Vapor