One of the most destructive habits ensnaring human beings is also so common that many consider it as natural as breathing and as harmless as blinking. That habit is called worry. It is such a skilled and deceptive thief that its victims don’t even know they’ve been robbed . . . of peace, of time, of mental energy and of emotional well-being.
Worry is like a thick braided headband that puts pressure on the mind—a confining cord interwoven with three strands—the distresses of yesterday, the trials of today and the fearful “what if’s” of tomorrow. This vice-like grip of worry tragically compresses your joy, cramps your peace and confines your freedom. But this constriction can be conquered!
— June Hunt
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
A fine line determines the difference between destructive worry and constructive concern. You may have defended your tendency to worry as being only genuine concern, but honesty requires that you take a closer look at your heart and your motives.1
“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6)
Worry is like a thief in the night that steals your spiritual peace. God never intended for you to live fearfully focused on the future … hostage to an emotional heist. If you are consumed with worry, you are experiencing some of the following physical and emotional symptoms that are robbing you of spiritual maturity.
Without hesitation, Peter literally stepped out on faith, stepped out of the boat and started his sweeping strides on the water. But Peter’s wondrous walk quickly became a sinking experience when he changed his focus from Christ to his own frailty. Likewise, when your focus is drawn away from the Lord Jesus and the Word of God, you set yourself up to drown in a sea of worry. (Read Matthew 14:25-33.)
“I believe God cares about me, but I can’t believe He is concerned with the everyday details of my life. I can’t help but worry.”
God has already promised to provide all the needs in my life through Christ. I don’t need to worry about how He will carry out that promise. I will trust Him to do it.
“My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
Scripture commands you to cast your cares or worries upon the Lord . . . to commit and entrust yourself and your desires and concerns totally to Him. But how do you do that? In the Bible, God often describes His people as being like sheep. When a sheep falls and ends up on its back, it is said to be “cast.” A cast sheep is totally helpless and has no resources upon which it can draw to remedy the situation. When we worry, we are like cast sheep. We have no resources within ourselves upon which to draw that will really affect our situation. But Jesus actually wants us to cast ourselves upon Him. He wants us to come to the end of our own resources so that we will depend upon Him for our very life. When we cast ourselves upon Him, He gently picks us up and carries us in His arms. As Isaiah 40:11 says: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.”
Worries become well rehearsed tapes in your mind. You know you shouldn’t worry, but you can’t seem to turn the worry tape off … then you worry about your worrying. Fortunately God doesn’t simply say, “Stop worrying,” without telling you how to stop worrying. Although your thoughts and memories can’t be erased, the tapes can be replaced, and Philippians 4:6-9 tells you how.
“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)