The War Against Worry
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Let me tell you, sisters, when I think about teachings in the Bible that feel almost impossible to me, “do not worry” is near the top. I’d like to think I’m a positive person, but I can often spiral down the “what if?” rabbit hole. I also tend to be a planner. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I recognize that my desire to plan and be organized often stems from my need to be in control. I recently completed a reading plan, Max Lucado’s “Anxious About Nothing”, that helped me recognize how my unrealistic desire to always be in control was giving me anxiety. I would often have nights when I would wake up at 2 AM and lie awake for an hour or two with my mind spinning. It was causing tension in my household. When I felt anxious, I would be less patient and more inclined to snap at my kids and my husband. The Bible is pretty clear that God does not want his children to worry. Here is what Jesus tells us in the book of Matthew:
Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)
When I start feeling my anxiety rise, I know I need to turn to prayer. Philippians 4:6 has become my go-to verse. When I first put this verse into practice, I quickly realized how important the “with thanksgiving” part is. When I brought my worry to God, I would start by thanking Him. If I was worried about a situation with one of my children, before I presented my request to Him, I would thank Him for the child he entrusted me with and for the blessing of motherhood. If I was stressed about a situation at work, I began my prayer thanking Him for my job, where I get paid a fair wage and feel valued. I noticed when I started my prayers with gratitude, it shifted my perspective. My current situation seemed less bleak. I was reminded of God’s faithfulness, which made it easier to release my anxiety to Him.
Overcoming worry is still a challenge for me, but the Lord is giving me strength in my battle. I realize that I cannot control everything. I need to trust that God is in control. When we relinquish our worries to God, we are calling on a source more powerful than ourselves or anything else in this world. In 1 Peter 5:7, we are invited to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” I encourage you to accept this gracious offer.