When the Worry Wart Pops Up
Have you ever heard the phrase “Don’t be such a worry wart.” That was a common phrase when I was growing up and truth be told followed me into parenthood.
The word-detective describes a worry wart as “a person who worries or frets incessantly.”
Why do we worry so much?
Is it ever a good thing?
When does worry become unhealthy?
How about anxiety? Does worry create an anxious state?
Dictionary.com defines worry as, “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.”
Worry is a repeated action.
I have a tendency to be an incessant worrier. To the point of driving me to anxiety. My mom used to tease me that I would worry that the smoke detector would actually “create a fire.” I know silly, right?
WORRY ---> ANXIETY
So why do we worry?
In my own life, I first have to consider the things that I worry over. Typically, my worry centers on the things and people that I care about. I remember when my son first started driving. After a reminder to “be safe”, I would say a prayer and pace the floor until he came home.
The Ugly “W” was in the room.
Fear would creep in over the things that I had no control over and uncertainty followed.
So, can worry be a good thing? First, we must ask ourselves, “Do I have control over the outcome?” If I have no control over the outcome, then no, worrying does nothing except create an anxious state which can lead to panic, stress and eventual health problems. I had no control over my son’s driving habits, so worry only created a vacuum which would serve to steal my joy for the night.
So how can we remove this annoyance and turn it into a catalyst for good?
In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus said “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Remember that we are so valuable to the One who created us.
Seek Him FIRST
Verse 33 instructs, “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I know, in the moment it is so easy to get stuck in our circumstance. After watching my son drive away, the “thought avalanche” took over reminding me of all of the “what if’s” that frankly never appeared. But there was something in this that I learned, the circumstance does not control me unless I let it. We are not promised a life without struggle.
In fact, Paul in Romans 5:3-4 shares that not only does he suffer, but he glories in suffering, why? Because he says “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
So what we see as a struggling circumstance threatening to destroy, Paul explains is a building block which can point us to hope. It is our choice which direction it takes.
Yes, I said Rejoice! Philippians 4:4-5 teaches us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
There is just something about rejoicing and learning to Be Still and soak in His presence which makes worry and anxiety melt. I heard excellent advice once that in the moment, ask God “where are you in this, Lord?” Then praise Him and thank Him for the help you know is sure to come.
Verses 6-7 go on to teach us, “Do not be anxious about ANYthing, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Not only does He promise to give us peace, but He promises to give us a peace which will guard our hearts and minds. This goes a long way when watching your children drive away.
Trust in Him
Yes, we can trust Him.
Proverbs 3:5 reminds us to, “Trust in the Lord with ALL OF YOUR HEART and lean not unto your own understanding."
Trust Him with your circumstance, He is the One who created the earth, placed the sun and stars in the sky, parted the red sea, and walked to an old rugged Cross to replace our fear with faith and a lifetime of grace. He wants to help us with all of our circumstances.
So join me in allowing The Heavenly Physician to remove the worry warts in our life, asking Him to give the wisdom to know when to lay down our circumstance at His Feet or when to seek the strength to persevere and endure through it.
His promises are ours.
Father, thank You for Your promise of peace. Thank You for Your gentle reminders to not worry or be anxious in our life. Thank You that we can seek You first and rejoice that You will reveal Yourself to us in these moments. Thank You that we can trust that You will provide in all things. We pray that You will remove our worry and anxiety and replace it with Your perfect peace.