Let’s confess. We worry. We fret. We sometimes sweat the small stuff.
Concern is appropriate when it produces action. If the warning light comes on in my car, I’m prompted to get the mechanic to check it out before I have major issues. A concerned person acts to address a problem.
Worrying, on the other hand, is unproductive. Sometimes our worries are ridiculous. For years, a woman had trouble getting to sleep at night because she just knew someone was going to break into her house and steal her fine China dishes. She was scared to death. One evening, her husband heard a noise, went downstairs, and encountered a real burglar.
He said, “Good evening. I’m so pleased to meet you. Will you please come upstairs and meet my wife? She’s been wanting to meet you for years.”
Another man went to a psychiatrist with his worry problem. He said, “Every time I get into bed, I am convinced that there is somebody under my bed.”
The psychiatrist said, “I can help, but it will mean a session a week for a year, and the fee is $75 a session.”
The man never returned, so when the psychiatrist ran into the man at the gym, he asked why he never came back. The man explained a friend cured him.
“How did he do that?”
"He told me to cut the legs off my bed, and I did. Now whoever’s down there is flatter than a pancake.”
Worry distorts our perspective, often giving a small thing a big shadow.
Winston Churchill said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of troubles in his life, most of which never happened.”
How do we confront our worries? God’s strategy to battle worry begins with prayer. Philippians 4:6 reads, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
As soon as a worry pops into our minds, take it to God in prayer and let Him handle it. That’s easier said than done. It’s like playing catch with your son. You can’t throw the ball and hang onto it at the same time. You must let go.
Yet, we like to help God with our worries, like He’s not powerful and wise enough to manage on His own. When we worry, we’re telling God we don’t believe He can handle our problems. We forget God is more qualified than we are.
Also, deliberately cultivate trust. Worry and trust cannot live in the same heart. When we worry, we aren’t trusting. When we trust, we eliminate worry. Worry is an indicator that we aren’t trusting God.
Too often, we’re control freaks who want to control people’s behavior, actions, decisions, circumstances, and outcomes. We can’t, but God can, so turn control over to God.
Then, learn to live one day at a time. Psalm 90:12 refers to numbering our days, not our months and years. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet. Today is the day we have, so let’s make it a good one.
Harvey Penick wrote The Little Red Book, required reading for every golfer. Penick said most golfers don’t think on the course; they worry.
“Worrying is a misuse of your mind on the golf course. Whatever your obstacle, worry will only make it more difficult. Worry causes your muscles to tense up, and it is impossible to make a good golf swing when your muscles are too tense.
“Rather than worrying, be mindful of the shot at hand, and play it as if you are going to hit the best shot of your life. You really might . . .”
It’s silly to worry about the next hole when you’re still playing this hole. Take it one swing at a time, and live one day at a time.
Also, intentionally eliminate worrisome thoughts that pop into your mind. Max Lucado suggested, “Treat frets like mosquitos. Do you procrastinate when a blood sucking bug lights on your skin? Of course, you don’t. Give that critter the slap it deserves.” Immediately slap those worries away.
Finally, remember God cares for you. He really does. Recognize His care as you cast your worries on Him (I Peter 5:7).
David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA. For more information and to watch online, view www.mcdonoughroad.org and “Like” them on Facebook. See www.davidchancey.com to see more of Chancey’s writings.
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