Are you a worrier?
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Matthew 6:25-34
Devotional text: Luke 12:25
Are you a person who becomes worried about circumstances in your life? There certainly seems to be enough difficult times for us to face individually, as well as from fearful events that take place in the world, that can cause us to worry.
Things happen to us, to our loved ones, to people we may know as well as those we don’t know. We hear about it on the news and through other people, family members and friends.
Worry is a natural part of our psyches and, when we get overwhelmed with worry, it can lead to devastating health problems. Worry in abundance is just not good for us, and it does no good for the ones we worry about either.
In Luke 12:25 we read this: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
Not only will it not add anything to your life, but medical data tells us it is more prone to decrease our lives by increasing illness.
What about this word, worry? What makes it so harmful to us? Doesn’t everyone worry about something?
From the Oxford Dictionary, worry is defined as anxiety, dwelling on difficulties and even getting ourselves into a panicky emotion. Whereas everyone worries about something at one time or another, it is when the worry or worries take over one’s daily life that it becomes harmful to the worrier. The word itself is known as a negative word.
There is another word that can be substituted for worry, and it is a positive word. This word is concerned. When we are concerned about something, it becomes the focus of our attention. We feel sympathy. We may even feel anxious and troubled. However, this emotion removes us from panic and overwhelming thoughts that follow intense worriness.
When worriness takes over our lives, we most often are unable to think straight; our minds get muddled. As we become concerned about something that is happening, we can still stay focused and open to acknowledging the things we are able to do to help, including to pray and to focus on God’s healing and comforting scripture.
“Cast all your cares (anxiety) upon the Lord, for he cares for you” is a well-known verse from 1 Peter 5:7. Peter shows us the comfort that comes from God when we are upset.
The Bible also tells us that when we worry, we are in a place where we are doubting the goodness of God in our lives.
Do you think God is not concerned about problems? Do you think that God wants you to continue fearing for the future? This is just not true, for we find the words “fear not” written in prelude to God’s goodness 365 times in our Bibles.
From Old to New Testaments, we read numerous verses which help us to calm down over worry and fear. Here are some that particularly speak about it:
Psalm 34:4 — “I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 37:8 — “Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself (do not worry), it tends only to evil.”
Psalm 56:3 — “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (God).”
Psalm 94:19 — “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation (comforting) brought me joy.”
Proverbs 12:25 — “Anxiety weighs down a heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
Jeremiah 17:7 — “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream … ”
These are just a few Old Testament scriptures that remind us to have complete trust that God is right there with us through troubling times. These are the times we especially need to seek God. Putting trust in God — real trust — calms us down. Our worries do not take over all our thoughts and actions. We can once again think clearly as we open ourselves to God’s comfort and help.
Fear, anxiety and overwhelming worry can all lead us into doing things we would not normally do (see Psalm 37:8). When we are in a place where we just can’t think, resting in the words of the Lord becomes a great help to us.
Next are some scriptures about the peace that God gives to us, a godly peace that is above everyday understanding of the word. It is a peace that covers us like a veil. It envelopes and enables us to breathe deep and softly once again.
John 14:27 — “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor afraid.”
Colossians 3:15 — “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 — “Now may the Lord of peace give you peace at all times and in everything. The Lord be with all of you.”
We find here that we don’t need to wait for troubled times to call on the Lord for comforting and peace. We should, instead, seek to live in the peace of the Lord daily. How do we do this? We pray for his peace in all situations, and we trust him completely.
Today, I leave you with this scripture found in Matthew 6:34: “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We may not be able to stop trouble in the world, or trouble in our lives, but one thing we do not have to do is worry about it.
Next week, we will continue with the words of scripture that speak about getting out of the habit of being a worrier and embrace the comforting words of God.