Don’t worry be happy. What a bunch of bologna! One of our staff members shared in our staff meeting today that telling a worry-wart not to worry is like telling an alcoholic not to drink. It doesn’t do much good. Many people feel as if they cannot help but worry and as a result live in constant worry.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about your life.” (Matthew 6:25) It is something easier said than done. All of us are prone to worry. It is a human inclination. The only way to overcome it is the power of God.
Worry is never going to be the answer. Worry will not help you overcome the challenge before you. It only will keep you from being productive and doing what God has called you to do. Maybe you have heard someone tell you not to worry yourself sick. Constant worry will wear you down and will have a negative impact upon our health. Worry will never produce positive results and will keep you from achieving what is worthwhile.
I know I told you that it does not do much good to tell you not to worry. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you 7 things you can stop worrying about. There is no need to worry about these things. So if you need to worry, you can spend your time worrying about other things.
1) Stop worrying about the things you can’t control. Worry is not going to change these things. You can’t do anything about them, so spend your energy making a plan to deal with the situation.
2) Stop worrying about he things you can control. If you can control them, then why are you worrying about them? Do what you can do, and leave the results to God.
3) Stop worrying about what other people think about you. Often those who “don’t” are the ones who criticize the ones who “do.” The more worthwhile your work the more you will need to tolerate the scoffers. The best way to tolerate them is ignore them. In my morning devotion today, the religious leaders say to Jesus, “we know you are true and you do not care about anyone’s opinion.” (Mark 12:14) Jesus realized the only opinion that matter was the opinion of his Heavenly Father. He was going to live a life pleasing to him.
4) Stop worrying about the past. Maybe you made mistakes. Maybe you said things that you would rather forget about. Remember those things are in the past and not today. Today is a new day. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) Today is not yesterday. It’s a fresh start!
5) Stop worrying about the future. Jesus says, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.” (Matthew 6:34) Make the most of today. When you live God’s will in the present he takes care of the future. Too often we allow the future to paralyze our present.
6) Stop worrying about the unknown. Maybe you worry about what might happen. Most of the time what we think might happen rarely ever happens. When Barbara and I were considering the call to New Jersey there were many things we concerned about. But we realized most of our concerns were about uncertainties. Those uncertainties were as much of a reality in New Jersey as in they are Illinois. It doesn’t do much good to make decisions based on what might happen.
7) Stop worrying about your ability. Many of us are filled with self-doubt. We are not sure if we are up to the challenges before us. We question if we have what it takes. You need to know if God puts a challenge before you, he will equip you for it.
When you start to experience worry consider the Apostle Paul who gives some great direction. This is what he says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
In other words, instead of worrying try praying. Talk with God about what is going on in your heart and mind. The important thing is to express your anxiety. Expose it to the light, because it is in the darkness anxiety grows. Call out the demon of worry that is haunting you. Worry comes straight from the pit of hell. Rebuke it as not being from God.
When the worry is exposed, then let God then do his thing. He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding. In other words you will not fully understand why you have this peace about you. It surpasses understanding. The text also says he will guard you and protect your heart and mind from worry. I teach you about this, but the only way you will experience it is to try it for yourself.
Worry is the opposite of trusting in God. The equation is “more Jesus” = “less worry.” The opposite is “less Jesus” = “more worry.” The more we encounter Jesus, the less worry will be an issue.
A final thing I want to say is get busy. It is hard to worry when you are at work. In sports, I find that it is a lot harder being a spectator than it is being a player. It is much more an emotional roller-coaster when you are watching the game instead of playing in the game. When you are in the game you are focused on what you need to do to achieve the victory. The spectator on the other hand is not in the game and sits on pins as needles as their favorite team contends for the championship. It is amazing how when you get to the work God is calling you to, the worry melts away the anxiety.
So where do you struggle with worry? How has God helped you overcome worry? I would love to hear about it.