I say to myself ‘Don’t worry’…but I do.
I tell others there is no need to worry…but still I do.
I know the feeling of worry, the physical tension that rises up inside of me. This tense feeling which invites me to give into worry. So I do. But to what end? When I give into this feeling of worry it always looks the same – overthinking, lack of sleep, exhaustion and eventual tears.
Wise counsel has told me not to worry. Just don’t worry. Decide not to…
But, is it a decision? Can I just decide not to worry?
The answer is yes. It’s ‘yes’ because of who God is.
God tells His children not to worry, not to be anxious, a number of times throughout the Bible. In Matthew 6:25, Jesus says “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”. In Philippians 4:6, Paul reiterates this command of Jesus, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God”. God says ‘don’t worry’ because He knows us intimately, He knows what the future holds, and has already taken care of all of our needs.
Though it’s possible not to worry, it is hard. If I’m honest, I struggle with worry more than anything else in my life. Worry is subtle, it feels natural, and so it’s very easy to give into worry unconsciously.
Recently I’ve been pondering some words of John Piper* on the topic of fear and worry:
“Jesus took our nature in Bethlehem, to die our death in Jerusalem, that we might be fearless in our city. Yes, fearless. Because if the biggest threat to my joy is gone, then why should I fret over the little ones?… If death is no longer a fear, we’re free, really free. Free to take any risk under the sun for Christ and for love”.
When we worry, we doubt God. God tells us not to worry because it does us no good to worry. Instead He wants to be free from the burden of worrying about the details of our live. He wants us to choose faith in Him over worry. He wants us to experience the peace that comes from trusting in Him: “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
As well as doubting God, when we worry we try to be God. When I worry, I am clutching tightly to the details of my life – my finances, my work situation, my friendships, my future plans – and trying to maintain control of them. But God says ‘Don’t worry’ because He is God, Lord over all. He is sovereign and in control. He says ‘Don’t worry’, inviting me to open my tightly closed hands and cast my cares and concerns onto Him (1 Peter 5:7).
As I’ve been pondering worry, I’ve been trying to introduce daily habits of trusting in God instead of giving way to worry. So each morning I sit in my car, and tell God that I trust Him, and ask for His help in trusting Him.
So I’m going to start again: ‘Don’t worry….trust God’. He is a trustworthy God. He commands us to trust Him. It is good for us trust Him. God desires the best for His children. His commands are for are best, and are utterly trustworthy…
*Taken from ‘Good News of Great Joy: Daily readings for advent’ by John Piper