How Worry Steals Your Joy and How to Get it Back
Worrying is not something we often view as a sin, and yet what we are really affirming when we worry is that we don’t trust God.
I’m a worrier. I worry about my health, the safety of those I love, if I’m moving in the right direction in life. I worry about whether I’m a good enough wife, friend, or daughter. I sometimes even worry about the bad things that could happen (sickness, car accidents, etc.).
Many of you can probably relate. Once you give in to worry a little bit, it’s easy for anxiety to take over and consume your thoughts.
I’ve only recently been learning that not worrying and giving in to anxiousness takes work like any other spiritual discipline.
First, it’s important to acknowledge that worry and anxiety really are lack of trust in God and that He has something good planned for your life.
Trevin Wax, in an article for The Gospel Coalition titled “Worry is a Roundabout That Keeps You from the Road to Joy,” puts it this way: “Worrying is a sign that we are meeting cultural challenges with fear, not faith.”
Wax goes on to compare worry to being in a never-ending roundabout (or, as my New England husband would call it, a rotary). When you give in to worry, you are like the driver of a vehicle that keeps circling in the roundabout, never taking any of the exits.
This is not what God wants for our lives, and He gives us resources to overcome worry and anxiety. Going back to the roundabout analogy, God gives us exits which we can take to get back on a path of trust in Him.
First, remember that we, as Christians, are running a race. Worry is a distraction on the sidelines, but we are called to keep our focus on Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 says this: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Seek to replace worry and anxiety with peace. No situation is too big, too complicated, too much to handle for God and His “peace which exceeds anything we can understand."
The second, and perhaps most important resource God gives us to overcome worry and recenter our thoughts and emotions, is prayer.
“So, don’t worry, Paul says. Instead, pray! Take those scenarios you keep rehearsing in your mind and say them to God. Replace worry with prayer,” writes Wax.
Name your fears to God, pray through Scripture, choose to trust that God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).
If you need a place to start to find Scriptures that speak to overcoming worry and anxiety and retaking the joy that is yours in Christ, here is a great list: "10 Verses to Read When Anxiety Strikes."
What verses have you found helpful in refocusing on God's faithfulness in times of worry?
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: April 26, 2017
Veronica Neffinger is the editor of ChristianHeadlines.com