“Linda, when I worry about you, it shows I care” – the words of a dear sweet grandmother.
“If I worry then when something bad happens, it won’t feel so bad. Worry prepares me for the worst scenario.”
“I know worry probably doesn’t help, but it makes me feel like I am doing something, even like I might stop something bad from happening.”
Worry is enticing because we believe it serves a purpose. We may falsely believe worry stops bad things from happening, prepares us for the worst outcome possible, allows us to control external events, shows caring, or makes us feel like we are doing something. Worry does none of these things. Rather, worry takes a toll on our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual lives.
Worry strangles (the literal meaning of the word) the joy out of life.
Worry interferes with our spiritual lives because it is based on doubting God. In order to worry, we have to wonder if God is who He says He is. When trouble comes and we don’t understand, the temptation is to ascribe to God some negative motive like, He doesn’t care, He isn’t with me, or He caused the bad thing to happen.
So how do we stop worrying when everything around us prompts this behavior? We begin by letting go of the idea that worry is useful. When we truly believe that worry has no place in our lives, this is the beginning of freedom.
Next, engage your will. In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged the disciples to make up their minds not to worry. This indicates that we must make a choice not to worry, that we have to decide not to allow worry in to the moment.
Finally, understand the true character of God so that you can trust Him. It is hard to trust someone we don’t know well because we are unsure of his or her character. At the root of worry is a lack of understanding who God is and what He does. Sometimes, we assign attribution to God that is not part of his character. When this happens, we doubt and worry creeps in. Thus, we remind ourselves daily of God’s promises and who He is. Trust is based on knowing God.
Life is uncertain and control often eludes us. But as we partner with God, we can face uncertainty with the confidence that God loves us and has our back. And while disease and sin wreak havoc in this world, God is not unaware of His children and our needs. He promises to never leave us to go it alone. And He works all things for our good according to His purposes. Trust Him.
Excepts taken from Letting Go of Worry by Dr. Linda Mintle