Spiritual Growth and Christian Living Resources

5 Reasons You're Full of Worry (and How to Stop)

  • Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2020 17 Dec
woman worried sitting on sofa in living room with bookshelves in background

Let’s admit it. You know you’re not supposed to worry and yet you do. You worry about finances, your health, and the health of those you love. You worry about what’s already happened and about what hasn’t yet taken place.

There’s a myriad of reasons why we shouldn’t worry. Worry causes stress which prematurely ages us, gives us wrinkles, and wreaks havoc on our health. Worry negatively affects our relationships with others who don’t want to be around a worrywart. And if you’re a mom, worry can make your grown children not want to confide in you about the details of their lives because they don’t want you to worry.

But what if I told you the real reasons you worry have more to do with your relationship with God than the people and situations you’re worried about? The reasons you worry probably aren’t the reasons you’re thinking, but as soon as you know them, you may be able to convince yourself to stop.

Here are five reasons you and I worry and how to stop it right now:

1. We worry because we forget God is all-powerful.

We worry because we forget about God’s power. We forget what He’s capable of and we start to believe we must take care of things ourselves. We start panicking that we’re on our own, and we might not be able to handle it. You know what? We can’t handle it. It’s why we need Him. God wants us to realize and admit our weakness so He can be strong on our behalf.

God often wants to do through us, what is beyond us. So when you’re faced with a situation in which you feel weak or powerless, rather than worry, call upon the Only One who takes care of the situation. God’s power to take care of whatever concerns you is there for the asking. We must first humble ourselves, admit we are powerless and ask for His power. James 4:10 says: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

David the Psalmist said in Psalm 18:35 says “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great” (NASB).

That verse illustrates the gentleness of God that empowers us when we’re weak and when we call upon Him for help in whatever it is that we need to do. He stoops down from heaven to where we are and makes us great. He is able to do through us what is beyond us. Whatever your circumstance, if you’re feeling weak and full of worry right now, His power is available to you for the asking.

2. We worry because we’ve forgotten His presence.

One of the first things that causes us to worry is the fear that we are alone…or we will have to deal with someone on our own. Or perhaps we worry for someone else because we fear they are alone. But when we do that, we’ve clearly forgotten God’s presence – that He’s right here with us, going before us, walking alongside us, and watching our backs.

In Psalm 139:7 David asks “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee your presence?” And then he answers his question by explaining the staying power of God’s presence:

“If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,'
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you"
(verses 8-12, NIV).

Basically, the God of the Universe won’t let us out of His protective sight. That’s one incredible thought. That’s one comforting thought. And that should keep you from worrying. When you’re tempted to fret that you are alone in your worrisome situation, remember His presence. And start talking to Him as if He’s right here. Because He is.

3. We worry because we don’t truly believe God is capable.

At the root of all of our “What if” questions and worries is what we really believe about God. When our minds play through the various what-ifs…the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t capable and what if God can’t handle this?”

There is a reason God’s Word tells us clearly not to worry. Philippians 4:6-7 in the New Living Translation says, “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.”

As you give God all of your what-ifs, worries, and anxieties, He can calm your heart, give you His peace, and remind you that He is in absolute control.

4. We worry because we try to control our lives and the lives of others.

It is in our human nature to try to control our lives and the lives of everyone else around us. We believe, at times, that it’s up to us to right all wrongs and fix all things broken. But only God can restore the broken, heal the hurting, and bring ultimate justice.

After a season of life in which he was convinced he had no control over what God had clearly allowed, Job said: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted (42:1). And in case God’s people became prideful and started to think their victories were at their own hands, the Psalmist corrected them when he sang: “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Psalm 44:3). 

Worry dissolves as you surrender to God and admit you are not in control of anything– He is.

5. We worry because we don’t really believe God is good.

God is good …all the time. As the perfect parent (which none of us are), He wants only the best for His children (Matthew 7:11). God is good because He causes all things (even the things you’re tempted to worry about) to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He causes all situations to work for good by using them to make you more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). So…trust His goodness, not just temporarily but eternally. He wants for you what will shape you for eternity. That means you don’t need to worry about what happens around you. Nothing can come close to you that hasn’t first passed through His loving hands (Romans 8:38-39).

Can you surrender your worries to the Only One who can work all things out according to His good and perfect plan? Then pray this prayer with me to give Him your worries and receive His peace in exchange.

A Prayer to Surrender Your Worries

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for telling me in Your Word that I don’t need to worry about anything, but instead pray about everything, with gratitude for what You have done and will continue to do, and then I will experience Your peace that is unlike anything I can experience on this earth. Thank You for being a Good Father to Your children and for knowing what is best for me and those I love. I give You all my concerns, worries, anxieties, and fears, trusting You will take them, work them out according to Your perfect will, and leave me with the peace of Your presence. I ask these things in the Name of Jesus, who can do all things. Amen.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/tommaso79

Cindi McMenamin headshotCindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone  (more than 150,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s HurtsWhen God Sees Your Tears and When Couples Walk Together , which she co-authored with her husband of 32 years. Find out more about her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

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