I was a champion worrier in my younger days! If there were an Olympic team for worriers, I would have been on it—probably a gold medal winner.
When I was in my mid 20’s, I worried about everything—so much in fact that I was eating two rolls of Tums a day. Then, one day when I was about 27-years old I went to the emergency room with severe chest pain, thinking that I was somehow having a heart attack.
After several days’ worth of tests, it was determined “no” I had not had a heart attack but that I had GERDs; Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder.
The doctor told me the GERDs was caused mostly by the stress in my life. The doctor went on to tell me if I didn’t change the way I handled the stress and worry in my life, not only would I likely develop an ulcer before I was 30, I would quite likely have chest pain that was a real heart attack!
We worry about so many things, yet most of them are a waste of energy! A study I found said that:
- 62% of what we worry about will never come to pass or is completely inconsequential.
- 30% of what we worry about happened in the past and can’t be changed!
So, a total of 92% of the things we worry about is a complete waste of time because they won’t happen or happened in the past!
We seem to be addicted to worry. Worry has a very real impact on our lives. It’s like we have this big bag and we throw all our worries about money, health, family, our jobs, and every other little thing into the bag.
After a while, the bag gets bigger and bigger, and heavier and heavier. And everywhere we go we are carrying this big bag of worry around with us. Pretty soon our bag of worry is so big and so heavy we crumble.
Why do we worry? We think we have to manage and control everything in our lives. Ultimately, we worry because we don’t trust God.
Paul’s Prescription for Life Without Worry
Paul had plenty to worry about as he sat in prison. Despite this, he wrote the Philippians a beautiful, joyful letter giving them encouragement and instruction for living a life without worry! His instructions regarding worry are included in Philippians 4.
What should we do with worry?
Paul says in Philippians 4:4 we must “rejoice in the Lord always.” Paul says we are to rejoice always—in good times as well as bad. When the sun is shining, and everything is rosy, and when dark storm clouds of life surround us.
Paul knew that worrying was a barrier to the young Christians in Philippi to be able to rejoice in the Lord, so he gives them three very clear steps to get rid of worry so they can rejoice.
Step 1: Right Praying
First, says Paul in verse 6, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Don’t worry about anything! Nothing! Large or small, don’t worry about it! Not only don’t worry about it, don’t even give it a thought!
Well, what are we supposed to do instead? Paul tells the Philippians and us to replace worry with something else. We need to replace worry with right prayer.
Paul tells us, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” We are to pray about everything, not just the big things in our life!
Step 2: Right Thinking
The second step is to replace worry with right thinking. Paul says in verse 8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Paul summarizes right thinking by saying that we should think about morally excellent things: things that are honorable and just, pure, lovely and commendable in the sight of God.
Step 3: Right Actions
It is not enough to have a pure heart from right praying, or even a good attitude from right thinking. We must also be doers of the Word.
Paul said in verse 9, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things.” The word Paul uses for “practice” means to perform something repeatedly, to make a habit out of it. In others words, it is not enough to learn and accept what Paul is teaching we must do them!
The result of replacing worry—Peace
The result of replacing worry with the right kind of prayer, the right kind of thinking, and the right kind of actions results in what? This is the best part! Paul says if we do this we will have the peace of God! Wow! But, what is the peace of God?
Paul says in verse 7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Paul repeats himself in verse 9, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” He’s saying if you learn and accept what you have heard and seen by his example, you will have the peace of God.
Conclusion—What should we do?
What are we to do about our worries? Peter writes in 1 Peter 5:7 that we should “cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us.” The word for cast means “to throw” upon someone else. We are to throw our cares and worries upon God because he cares for us! We are to take all our cares and concerns and not just lay them but throw them at the foot of the Cross.
Remember that big bag of worry? God never intended for us to carry that bag around with us! We need to take that bag of worry off our shoulders and hand it over to God! We need to come to God with our bag of worry, and say “Here Lord, you take this!”
Most of us come to God with good intentions and start to unpack the bag. But one of our worries, maybe its “family,” is too hard to let go of. So we tell God, “You can have these others, but I’m going to keep this one!
Others of us will unpack the bag, but we keep the bag! And tomorrow we start to fill it back up again! No! You give it all to Him—bag included, so you won’t be tempted to fill it up again!
Are you like me eating a couple of rolls of Tums a day because of your worries? Are you tired of carrying that bag of worry around? You know what needs to be done, right?
- Replace worry with right prayer to focus our hearts on God.
- Replace worry with right thinking to focus our heads on God. And,
- Replace worry with right actions to focus what we do on God.
This week’s post is excerpted from an 8-page whitepaper entitled, “How to Cast Aside Your Worry and Live a Tums Free Life.”
This whitepaper is a much broader discussion of worry including:
- Everyday things we worry about.
- The physical, emotional, and spiritual impacts of worry.
- The difference between prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and requests.
- How what we think about impacts worry.
- The importance of doing right.
- What it means to have the peace of God in our lives.
You can download the free 8-page whitepaper here: “How to Cast Aside Your Worry and Live a Tums Free Life.”
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome! Are you a champion worrier? How do you deal with worry in your life?
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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God