What do you worry about? Life is so complicated with family and work responsibilities. Finances are often stretched. Life isn’t always predictable.
Some synonyms of worry are fear, burden, anxiety and uneasiness. No one likes to be plagued with these things, but sometimes it’s hard to stop worrying when it seems we don’t have control over situations.
Most of us worry to some extent about something, but what does it do to us physically, emotionally and spiritually? And what does God want us to do when we are tempted to worry?
Worry affects us physically and emotionally
Proverbs 12:25 (NLT) says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.”
Worrying is when we feel uneasy or are very concerned about a situation or problem. When we worry excessively, our minds and bodies shift into overdrive because we concentrate on “what could happen”.
Continual worrying affects our daily lives and can even impact our appetite, sleeping patterns, lifestyle choices, relationships, and how we do at our jobs.
Extreme worry turns into anxiety which can cause people to choose harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, smoking, or using alcohol and drugs. Headaches, concentration problems, nausea, depression, digestive problems or even a heart attack can also result from worrying too much. Watch a free video program about overcoming anxiety here.
Worry really does no good
One of the most famous Bible passages about worry is in the Gospel of Matthew:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)
Read an article about the verse “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” here.
In this scripture, Jesus commands us not to worry, not to fear. This is not a suggestion by Jesus; it’s an order. Why? Because when we worry, we are not trusting God.
Jesus calls our faith ‘little’ when we are consumed with worry about getting the things we need like food and clothing. We should be consumed with God, not our needs.
When we worry, we act like unbelievers (pagans) who “run after all these things” trying to solve their own problems. We are supposed to run after God because He is the one who solves our problems.
When we worry today about what will happen tomorrow, our today isn’t as enjoyable. Then tomorrow is eaten up by worrying about the next day, and we never truly live and enjoy our todays. This is not how God wants us to live.
Worry and anxiety are closely related to fear. And about 95% of the things we fear never happen! God doesn’t want us to be bound by worry or fear but to trust Him instead. He wants our faith in Him to outweigh our worry.
When we are tempted to worry, what does God want us to do?
4 Things to Do Instead of Worrying
- Praise & Worship God.
Psalm 43:5 (NIV) states: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”
This is what King David’s solution was when he was tempted to worry about his circumstances. If we praise, bless and worship God only when things are going well and when we have no problems or worries, then what does that say about our relationship with God?
So don’t worry; sing a song to God. Don’t let anxiety grip you; declare God’s goodness and praise Him for His faithfulness. Make prayer part of your everyday life with one of these morning prayers.
Even when we don’t feel like it, we need to praise God – no matter the circumstances – no matter what we are going through. If we are worried or concerned about something in our life or future, that should compel us to pursue God all the more!
- Cast your cares on Him and talk to Him about what you’re worried about!
1 Peter 5:7-8 (NIV) says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Cast means “throw, get rid of.” Don’t worry about yourself, and don’t hold on to your anxiety! Give it to Him. This is a conscious decision involving action on your part.
Notice that we are told not to worry or be anxious, and then we are reminded to be alert to the devil. Could it be that worry opens up an area for Satan to attack us? Be careful!
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”
Notice that if will pray and ask God for what we need, and if we are thankful, then our heart and our mind will be filled with His peace instead of worry! We exchange our worry for His peace!
- Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness
Matthew 6:33 (NIV) tells us that when we put God and His purposes first, He will take care of the rest; we don’t have to worry.
How do we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first? This involves priorities. When we are busy taking care of what’s important to God, He will take care of what’s important to us.
- Think about what is true and good
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) shares, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
If we find ourselves being a constant worrier, ask God how we got started in being a worrier. Once he shows us how we opened the door to worry we can repent of it and close the door.
When we think about the right things—about who God is and His faithfulness—rather than how our circumstances are difficult or uncertain, our faith is strengthened, and worry can’t gain a foothold.
This is a testimony to others too; when they see that we have an uncommon peace from God and that we are not worried about the future, they will be inspired to follow God and trust Him like we do.