The Bible commands us not to worry, but we all know that this is easier said than done. Let me share a personal story. At the time of writing this blog post, there’s a lot going on in my life. I’m managing and juggling so many things, which has resulted in being in a place of worry:
- Worrying if things are going to work out
- Worrying if it’s the right time to handle certain projects
- Worrying if I can afford some big upcoming expenses
- Worrying if I’m being intentional with my time
- Worrying if I’ll be a good enough wife
- Worrying if I’m handling my commitments well
It actually wasn’t until Keith, my husband, pointed it out to me that I realized how worried I was. So when he brought it to my attention, it’s like the light bulb went off. I could see the effects of worry everywhere and something that I’ve learned about myself over time is that when I get to a place of feeling unsettled or like things are out of my control, I have a bad habit of turning to work.
And when I say work, I don’t mean career/job, but anything that will keep me busy so I can keep my mind off of whatever it is that is worrying or bothering me. I will check items off my to-do list. I will follow up and re-follow up on tasks. I will begin to micromanage and check in with people.
I build myself up to a state of anxiety or frenzy all because I want to create a sense of control. I create a sense of pressure to get more things done because in my mind, if I get more things done, then I will be able to rest (God’s still working on me LOL).
This behavior actually followed me into my prayer life. The personal prayer request list kept growing and then I started to get worried that I wasn’t “praying enough” because of all the new things (work, relationships, etc.) that kept popping up. It was a constant stream of consciousness.
But I love how the Holy Spirit is the teacher of all things. It just so happened that while all of this was going on, my daily devotional one day was Luke 12. While reading, there was a verse that immediately stood out to me and it was Luke 12:25-26.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”Luke 12:25-26
Now in this passage, Jesus was talking about worldly possessions and the worry that results when we want “things,” but there’s a few things I want to address that the Holy Spirit highlighted to me while I was studying.
Worry Reveals a Lack of Trust
First, when we worry, it reveals a lack of trust. It is actually impossible to have faith and worry at the same time. That’s why Jesus tells the disciples that they have little faith because they’re too worried about what they’ll eat or wear (remember these guys left everything to follow Jesus).
But I had to look up the definition of worry and it means to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Similar to my personal story, worry happens a lot of times when we are dealing with things outside of our control. We either want things to go a certain way, we want things to work out, look a certain way, or want to control the outcome.
Self-awareness happens when we discover the root or the “why” behind those desires. Why do we really want things to go a certain way? Why do we really want things to work out? It’s usually rooted in a specific belief, but that’s another teaching for another day LOL.
The truth is when we make Jesus Lord and Savior of our lives, it means we are deciding to surrender everything about our lives to Him. We give Him control over our work, our plans, our relationships, our money, our giftings, our talents, and yep, that also includes the outcome of our lives.
So, when things change or when things don’t happen like we expect, we don’t have to worry because we’ve already given God control. As believers, we are living surrendered lives to God and we must make a conscious decision to trust Him and believe that He’s working everything out on our behalf (Romans 8:28).
We must be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). As Luke 12:25 reminds us, worry does not add anything to our lives. It is a literal waste of our time because the only person truly in control is Christ.
Rest is Warfare
So how can we combat worry? We must first realize that worry is a mindset and we need the Holy Spirit’s help to renew our minds (Romans 12:2). For me, I thought the answer to worry was “doing” more, praying more, checking things off my to-do list, but the truth is I was reliant on myself to control the outcome rather than resting in God’s sovereignty.
That’s why the Holy Spirit told me to change my prayer strategy. Instead of petitioning Him with my many requests (and trust me, there were a lot LOL), He told me to just sit and REST in His Presence.
- Rest in the fact that He is a Provider.
- Rest in the fact that He is in control.
- Rest in the fact that all things are working together for my good.
- Rest in His love for me and worship Him without an agenda (aka my prayer list).
For me, this literally looked like turning on worship music and singing to God. You have to discover with the Holy Spirit what rest looks like for you.
But we must understand that rest is a warfare strategy and we cannot let the difficulties of the present moment overshadow God’s promises. The Bible is full of God’s promises to us and one of those promises is rest.
When God created the world, He rested on the 7th day not because He was tired, but because it was perfect, and He was satisfied with it. And because Jesus died on the cross, redeemed us, and restored us to the original design of creation, we have access to the benefit of living in this 7th day of rest.
We get to live in God’s finished work! Although the world is full of sin, we get to rest in God’s love, His peace, His joy, etc. all because of what Jesus did for us. It is a picture of what’s to come when we spend eternity with Christ.
But when we worry, we are subconsciously choosing to reject this rest and rather choosing to live life in our own strength. This is not God’s intention for us. He desires for us to rest in His promises. That’s why Hebrews 4:11 tells us to make every effort to enter into His rest.
And this doesn’t mean that we’re “doing” more, but rather making every effort to appreciate the benefits of what God has already provided and what He’s already done!
So I encourage you to allow rest to be your strategy when you feel worried. I have a few reflection questions that you can download below to help you process where you are when it comes to worry.
But as always, I’d love to know what you think. How have you dealt with worry and how have you found rest in God’s presence? Tell me in the comments.