Why do we accept worry as normal?
This might seem like a meaningless question. We accept worry as normal because it is, right?
Well, it certainly is common for people to worry. I worry. The last few weeks, I have been stressing over a long work week that I was really dreading. I had to keep trying to fight it off. It’s hard, but the fact that worry is common doesn’t make it okay.
I think we all realize in our more sane moments that worry accomplishes nothing. Worry wears us out. It puts us on edge. Worry damages our physical bodies. There is nothing good about worry.
Yet, we accept it as a normal way of dealing with life.
Let me offer a few suggestions and even a solution to worry.
1. It seems almost impossible to not worry.
Here is problem number one. We don’t realize that we even have a choice in the matter. It’s possible to not worry? Really? Apparently so. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life…” In Philippians 4:6, the Apostle Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything…” These are direct commands to make the choice to not worry. It must be possible. You can obey God and not be controlled by worry.
2. Worry is often worn as a badge of honor.
Worry is a funny thing. On one hand, we realize that it is a useless and destructive force in our life. On the other hand, we can trumpet our stress to draw attention to the fact that we are important and dealing with weighty matters. It is a lot like busyness in our culture. Being busy like being stressed out tell people that our lives are significant. They must be. Look at all that I have to do and worry about. Nonsense. Worry is not a badge of honor. It is a scarlet letter that marks us as sinners.
3. We feel like not worrying about something means that we are not taking it seriously.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. This is me. I don’t understand it, but it just seems like peace can be confused with carelessness. If something is really important…if it really matters, it seems like we are required to be tied up in knots over it because anything less appears lackadaisical. The truth is that worry says nothing about the importance that we give to something. It just says that we are struggling to trust God.
4. Some people adopt “worrier” as their identity which makes it okay.
“I know that I’m not supposed to worry, but that is just who I am.” I’ve heard that type of thing many times. Worry becomes a way of life and an essential part of a persons identity. Therefore, worry is just a natural product of who they are. There is nothing to be done. False. If you know Jesus as your Savior, there are far greater things about you that supersede any struggle with any particular temptation. 1 John 5:5 gives one example. “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” You are an overcomer. You are not defined by any struggle or sin, let alone worry. Do not accept “worrier” as your identity. Overcome it.
5. Somehow, we equate worry with doing something.
At times, there seems like little that we can do about a situation. Things seem to be out of our control. And, what do we tend to do when there is nothing we can do? Worry. We know that it doesn’t do any good, but at least it feels like something. At least it feels like we care.
There is always something that we can do and it is God’s solution to this whole issue.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” -Philippians 4:6,7
The biblical antidote to worry is faith. Faith produces peace.
The Apostle Paul commands us to not worry but instead to pray about anything that concerns us. As we pray and trust our concerns into the hands of God, who can do all things, worry gets pushed out by peace. God is on the job doing for us what we cannot do ourselves.
I find that most people are not satisfied with prayer as a solution. It doesn’t seem like enough. We want a boots on the ground solution to the challenges that we face. We want to do something.
With worry, God cannot make it any clearer. God tells us EXACTLY what to do in order to drive worry from our lives. PRAY.
Would you trust that God knows best?
Would you believe that God’s Word is true?
Would you pray and lay down your worries at God’s feet?
Don’t throw prayer away as a simplistic solution. Be willing to try God and his ways.
When worry shows up…and it will, pray.
If worry remains…and it will, pray.
If worry returns…and it will, pray.
Pray until your worries are overwhelmed with the peace of God. The question isn’t whether prayer works. The only question is will you pray?