Worrying can be crippling. When worry makes its way into your space, fear is usually not too far behind. Then anxiety and depression comes in and the peace you once held is swept away by waves that seem to overtake you. It’s a downward spiral and it’s often very difficult to recover from. Worrying can even get us to abandon the truth we already know and believe a lie instead. Worst of all, it causes us to doubt God’s sovereign hand in our lives.
I have a lot to say about this issue because I’ve been through it and I’m still going through it. Some days, I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulder and I’m about to cave in. My past Spring semester in college was rough and I had days where I worried so much that it crippled me and prevented me from seeing my situations clearly.
I was sitting at the desk where I work one evening and I got an email confirming that I was prepared and ready to go for my prescriptive art critique the following week. I had to present a research paper about a specific aspect of an artist’s life and support it with evidence from her work. Pretty much, I should have had a month to do research and prepare for this important critique but somehow, I didn’t get the first email a month earlier, notifying me about all of this. I sat at my desk and I panicked. I knew I should have started some sort of research but I froze. My hands were shaking, I got a headache, my stomach hurt and I didn’t know what to do. I forgot to trust that my Father would provide a way for me as He always did.
I was facing other issues during that time. The deadlines for other major projects, papers, and exams were quickly approaching. I was facing a personal problem as well that affected the way I could focus on my academic work. Everything that I could possibly face came up against me and I didn’t know how to cope. I felt like abandoning my chosen career field, giving up, and letting the waves crash over me.
“Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26
But, I didn’t have to live that way. Neither should you. God has everything we need before we even need it. He has a solution for every problem before we can even realize that it’s a problem. Our heavenly Father has food provided for us before we’re even hungry. Worry causes you to fear that you will be left alone without provision but that’s not true. God will always provide. He’ll always make a way.
While sitting on the train one day, I noticed a flock of birds in perfect formation. They flew freely without worry or care. Instinctively, they knew that God would provide for them. We don’t have to do so much work of sowing and reaping stress, fear, and disappointment. Stop collecting negative emotions and irrational fears saying that you need to plan and think and worry. You don’t.
Trust that God will feed you. I was worried about my critique, wondering if I could ever get it prepared in time. What I didn’t know is that everything that I needed to prepare a successful presentation was already inside of me. God placed it there. Actually, the only thing that made it difficult for me to prepare my presentation was my worry. It was only when I stopped worrying that I actually got anything done.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
God wants you to rest. There is no way that you can overcome on your own. God is there to help you. Jesus says, “Lay down your burdens and I will give you rest.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this verse and still insist on carrying my own burdens. However, I received strength when I finally laid down my burdens at my Savior’s feet. Sometimes I want to pick them back up, but then I remember that God is fighting for me and He will take care of me.
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Worry often comes from need. But, as I mentioned before, God has everything you need. He’s not locking it away in a box or forcing you to pass a test in order to receive it. He has what you need not just to survive but to thrive. If you search for God with all of your heart, you will find Him and all of His promises too. See, the thing is… the gifts God wants to give you are far greater than anything that you want right now. Maybe you want temporal things but God wants to give you spiritual things. You can’t see it if you’re not focused on Him. That’s why He encourages us to strive for the kingdom of God and His righteousness. There’s nothing wrong with having temporal, human needs but if you’re carnally minded, then your human needs will cause you to worry and you may miss the spiritual blessings God wants to give you.
If I have any advice about this, I would say, search for God with all your heart. He is the answer to every struggle and every situation you face. If you have God in your life, regardless of how bad things seem, you will always be victorious.
Satan comes to kill, to steal, and to destroy. Jesus came so that you could have life. Worry is crippling. It has no substance and no real purpose but to destroy your confidence in God. It wants you to abandon your source of life for another source that can’t sustain you.
And, I know it’s easy to simply say, “Don’t worry.” It’s hard to actually put it into action. It’s one day at a time, a process of giving your will to God and learning more about Him. It comes from trusting His every word even when you don’t feel like it. Push to believe that God loves you and His promises are true.
When worrying has got you crippled and faced down on the floor, the consolation is this: God never lies. He’s promised to provide for you and He certainly will. Consider the reasons why you worry and what you worry about. What steps are you going to take to trust God more?