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Doing Life Together

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I come from a long line of worriers. Although faith is important, we never talked about how to live worry free. We managed worry. But as I got older and began to study worry in scripture, I came to realize, worry is not to be managed. It needs to be gone. Jesus was very specific about worry. Basically, He tells us to stop doing it, adding that it doesn’t add a single day to our lives. Would Christ tell us to do something that was impossible for us to do?

Worry is enticing because we believe it serves a purpose. We may falsely believe worry stops bad things from happening, prepares us for the worst outcome possible, allows us to control external events, shows caring, or makes us feel like we are doing something. Worry does none of these things. Rather, worry takes a toll on our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual lives. Worry strangles (the literal meaning of the word) the joy out of life.

Our Creator knows the impact of the mental habit of worry on our physical health. He knows stress hormones are released during worry and damage is done to the body. He knows worry can cause cardiac activation regardless of whether or not worry pans out. In addition, high levels of worry can cause coronary heart disease, lead to unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking that bring early death. Worry is bad for the physical body.

Worry also interferes with our spiritual lives because it is based on doubting God. In order to worry, we have to give up trust and wonder if God is who He says He is. When trouble comes and we don’t understand, the temptation is to ascribe to God some negative motive like, He doesn’t care, He isn’t with me, or He caused the bad thing to happen.

So how do we stop worrying when everything around us prompts this behavior? We begin by letting go of the idea that worry is useful. When we truly believe that worry has no place in our lives, this is the beginning of freedom.

Next, engage your will. In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged the disciples to make up their minds not to worry. This indicates that we must make a choice not to worry, that we have to decide not to allow worry in to the moment.

Worried thoughts will come to your mind. When they do, don’t try to suppress them. That doesn’t work. Instead, identify the worried thought. Then decide what a more reasonable thought might be, and replace the worried thought with the more realistic one. This is how you take a thought captive. You refuse to allow it to wander to wherever it wants to go. You direct that thought to truth. Jesus is the truth and He says cast your cares on Him.

Finally, understand the true character of God so that you can trust Him. It is hard to trust someone we don’t know well because we are unsure of his or her character. At the root of worry is a lack of understanding who God is and what He does. Sometimes, we assign attribution to God that is not part of his character. When this happens, we doubt and worry creeps in. Thus, we remind ourselves daily of God’s promises and who He is. Trust is based on knowing God.

Life is uncertain and control often eludes us. But as we partner with God, we can face uncertainty with the confidence that God loves us and has our back. And while disease and sin wreak havoc in this world, God is not unaware of His children and our needs. He promises to never leave us to go it alone. And He works all things for our good according to His purposes. Trust Him.

 

 

 

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