4 Things Worry Reveals about You
- Clarence L. Haynes Jr. Contributing Writer
- Updated Aug 24, 2022
I am going to make a confession. There have been times in my life where I have been overcome with worry. As often as I have said to others “don’t worry but trust God” when they were facing difficult life moments, I have discovered it is not always so easy when you are facing yours.
I can remember the worry I experienced when I was laid off and wondered how I would support my family. I remember the worry when my son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome before he was born, and I wondered if I had the ability as a father to raise him. I remember worrying about my son when he was diagnosed with leukemia, if he would make it through that challenge.
These were situations in my life that caused me to worry. I am sure you have yours as well, whether is it worrying about finances, health, your children, or whatever it is. As I looked back, I began to recognize a few things. I discovered when worry is present, usually there are four things it will reveal about you. As you come with me on this journey, you may see yourself in these four things, but that is okay because even if you are worrying about something now, there is a remedy to get you through it.
1. Worry Reveals Who You Are Enslaved To
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:24-25).
In all my years of reading this passage I never tied these two things together. However, as I thought about the moments of worry in my life, Jesus’ words made so much sense. Worry reveals who you are enslaved to. Notice what Jesus said in this passage. Let me highlight the specific words to make it easy for you:
“You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.”
Here is what these words meant to me as I read them – if you are worrying about everyday life, then you are enslaved to money. I know we don’t often think of it that way, but if you are worrying about these things then you are looking at money as your source, therefore making you a slave to it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you are worshipping money, but you are putting your hope in it, thereby becoming enslaved to it.
When I understood this about myself, it was a tough pill to swallow. The reason I knew I had become enslaved to money is because I began to look for ways to make money that did not align with my gifts, talents, or calling. Was it any wonder that my attempts to pursue these things all failed miserably? Once I understood this and recognized this pattern of failure, it led me to my second reveal.
2. Worry Reveals You Are Not Trusting God
What is fascinating is the reason I was enslaved to money is because I wasn’t trusting God. There are really only two options in life: Trust God and be enslaved to him, or trust something else and be enslaved to that.
Whatever you believe is going to be your source, that is who you will serve. Whatever the need is, you are either trusting God for it or you are trusting something else. The reason why this happens is because we confuse the source with the resource. I don’t know who said this first, but “God is the source and everything else is the resource.” We often mix these up.
When I was worrying, that is exactly what I was doing. God is the source of everything, and he uses different resources to supply what we need. Because he is the source, he can use any resource he chooses at any time. He can use ravens to provide food, donkeys to speak, a rock to provide water, a dirty river to heal leprosy, or anything he wants because he is the source of it all. When we remember that, then we will keep trusting in him as the source and we will rejoice over the resources he provides to meet our needs.
3. Worry Reveals You Have Little Faith
“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” (Matthew 6:30).
Ouch that hurts. No one wants to think they have little faith. Now little faith can be enough, but let me explain the difference. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus talked about faith the size of a mustard seed. What is the difference between that faith and this one? Mustard-seed faith is small faith that is full of expectation. This faith is small with no expectation.
What my worry revealed is I had the second kind of faith. I wanted God to come through, but because I was unsure of how he would do it, when he would do it, or honestly if he would do it, my faith waivered. My worry became greater, and it overpowered my faith. I had little faith.
4. Worry Is Often Accompanied by Lack of Prayer
There is a strange, but maybe not so strange, thing that happens when we are overcome by worry; prayer is absent. I realized as the intensity of my worry increased, the consistency of my prayer life decreased. It is hard to pray when you are struggling to trust, and you have little faith. This doesn’t always have to be the case. Some people’s worry drives them to God, but mine had the opposite effect. The worst part is I began to make decisions out of a place of worry and not a place of faith and trust.
When prayer is present, usually worry subsides. But when prayer is absent, worry will increase.
How Do You Overcome Worry?
I must address how you overcome worry because there is one antidote to worry, and Jesus gives it to us.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
The antidote to worry is to seek God first, before, and above everything else. When we seek him in this manner, we recognize God is our source and it demonstrates our trust and faith in him to provide what we need. As I looked back, I realized something else. We don’t have to worry; we choose to worry. I know this is another one of those hard pills to swallow, but I have discovered it to be true. We can either worry or trust and the fact Jesus tells us don’t worry means we have a choice in the matter.
In 1988 Bobby McFerrin wrote a song called “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This song provided outlook on life. The main message of the song was that life’s troubles are going to come and when they do, don’t worry, be happy.
Long before Bobby McFerrin ever wrote those words, Jesus gave us the remedy for worry. To play off Mr. McFerrin’s song here is it. Don’t worry, seek God.
Jesus has no desire for you to go through life filled with worry, anxiety, stress, fear, or any of these things. However, he also knows the way to overcome those things is in God’s presence. I hope you will learn from my mistakes and don’t allow worry to overtake you. Learn to seek God in everything you do and in every situation in life. When you do, he will take care of you. That is the promise he made, and he has a pretty good track record of keeping promises. The next time you feel as if worry is rising inside of you, don’t let it win.
Don’t worry, seek God. He is your source, and he will provide. That is something you can depend on so don’t worry.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/MangoStar_Studio
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.