Editor’s note: Today's article is the sixth in a series about "fine line" areas of our lives. Areas where we struggle to discern truth from sin. Areas we prefer not to deal with so that we can continue living on the edge, where the "fine line" is. Click here to read about Happiness vs. Joy, Judging vs. Accountability, Loneliness vs. Alone-ness, Gossip vs. Venting, Lust vs. Love, and Doubt vs. Questioning.

When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time at my grandma Bell's home. She was always very busy, whether in the fields gathering fresh vegetables and fruit or standing over her stove or cleaning her house. She rarely sat down unless she was shucking corn or snapping green beans. We all got to enjoy her made-from-scratch meals such as chicken and dumplings, buttered corn on the cob, and fresh peaches over homemade ice cream. Mmm, good.

As I look back on those days I can say with all honesty that I never once heard my grandmother complain or be worried about her life. I mean, for most of us she had a lot to be worried about. She married my grandfather who already had 7 children, and then had 5 more. They raised their children on a small farm. So if the weather was bad, their entire crop could have gone under. As the years passed, my grandmother would end up taking care of my aunt who died at 31 of multiple sclerosis, and then my grandfather who couldn't walk. And yet she never complained, never worried. One day, when I was in my twenties, I asked grandma if she ever worried about her life. She said, "Worrying is like a rocking chair. It doesn't get you anywhere but it gives you something to do." I had to think about it. She went on to say, she "didn't have time to worry because there was too much to get done." So grandma, you never got concerned about things? She went on to say, "Now don't get worried mixed up with being concerned. You can't have 12 kids, be poor and not be concerned." So grandma, what is the difference? Where is the fine line that divides them?


Worrying is a state of mind where you are anxious about something. This anxiety can be severe, at times to the point of obsession. You go over and over in your mind what the problem may be and how to fix it. Most of the time you are not able to fix things because they are out of your control. This obsession can lead to stress. This stress can lead to mental, physical and even spiritual issues. When you worry about anything in this way, you are not trusting God. Your focus becomes on the problem instead of the Lord as the solution and who is really in control.


Concern can sometimes look like worry. It all depends on the perspective. It also depends on the goal of the concerned party. When you are concerned over a situation, you are simply exhibiting care. You care about your children coming home too late. You can care about your work, your health, and your relationships. Because you know you can't control the situation, you must trust God to handle things for you. Being concerned is being responsible. Being concerned turns you towards Christ for help, for prayer, and for a solution.