What Not to Worry About

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. ~ Glenn Turner

I have conversations in my head. You know, the ones where we re-write the script with witty rejoinders or acid responses; or the ones where we sound brilliant and humble … all at the same time. They run on and on in the middle of the night, keeping me awake as I re-think possible outcomes and maneuver all of the circumstances into a pattern I like.

The only problem is when I get up the next morning, I haven’t changed a thing. Whether it was a replay of an old conversation or a potential dialog for the future, my worrying had no real effect at all. It simply robbed me of restful sleep.

I know it seems impossible – even irresponsible – not to worry. When we are faced with seemingly impossible situations, at least it feels like we’re doing ‘something’.  But, think about it … have you ever really changed anything with worry? Here are six life situations that you definitely should NOT worry about.

1.    THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE

So which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Matt. 6:27)Think about it. If you can’t change it, what will worry accomplish? It steals your time and your peace – and the net result is still the same. If you can’t change or influence it, don’t worry about it! Instead, change your attitude and your response.

2.    THINGS YOU CAN CHANGE

In the day when I cried thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul. (Ps. 138:3) There is absolutely no point in worrying when it is in your power to change: yourself, your circumstances, your attitude, your thoughts or your actions. So – get busy and quit making excuses.

3.    THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God … (Phil. 4:6)You’ve got the ear of Divine Power. Admit that you can’t control the person or circumstance and give it to God. With Him, nothing is impossible.

4.    OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye [be] rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17) Too often, we let others’ opinions (or our imaginations of what they are thinking) cause anxiety. Be realistic. They are probably just as worried about what you think of them! Move past the worry and reach out in friendship. Smile. Start a conversation.

If you’re dealing with animosity or a strained relationship, protect your heart by creating [emotional] distance from the other person. Be careful, however, not to speak negative words about that person. Stay in love, and trust that God will change the situation. (See #3) Worrying about other people’s attitudes is a waste of your energy!

5.    THE PAST

… but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (Phil. 3:13) It’s over – done with. You can’t change anything about what has already happened. All you can do is learn from the experience and move forward. Regret is just another form or worry. It is ineffective and useless; you can’t re-write that script, so stop trying.

6.    THE FUTURE

Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thoughts for the things of itself. (Matt. 6:34) Believe me, you have enough to deal with today, without worrying about what might happen in the future. You can’t stop it or control it (See #1 and #3!) Instead, trust God’s plan for your life. Stay in the moment, give your best effort, and let the future unfold in His timing.

FEAR NOT, BELIEVE ONLY

Worry is a form of fear – fear that the past, the future, other people or some circumstance can harm you. Dread, regret, anxiety, frustration, despondency and torment are all part of the worry cycle. They are symptoms of misplaced responsibility. The Word clearly admonishes us to ‘fear not, believe only’ (Luke 8:50). If you are worried, you are not believing!

God told us that ‘the cares of this world’ choke The Word so that it becomes ineffective in our lives (Mark 4:19). He also said to ‘cast all our cares on Him for He cares for us’ (I Peter 5:7).

Worry is a habit, and it’s one you can break. Pay attention to your thoughts, and cast down those imaginations (2 Cor. 10:5). Replace them with promises from God’s Word. Don’t waste your time worrying about the things you can’t change: the past, the future or other people. Instead, pursue ‘the peace of God which passes all understanding’ (Phil. 4:7). You’ll soon find that you have no worries.

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