What we know of God during the good times often gets tested during the bad. Life is sure to bring us challenges, trials, perhaps even tragedies.…
Worry Will Steal Your Joy
The arrival of my 6th child (back in August) was met with the sweet surprise of ease. Meaning, God gave me a super chill baby! And this blessing was especially welcomed because I was quite unsure how I’d handle another little one so soon after #5. So every day, in fact multiple times a day, I found myself grateful that my sweet Selah was so calm and easy going.
However one day I went for a routine newborn well-check, and by the end of the day my joy was sapped. Not because anything bad actually happened, but because something was said that sparked some thoughts, that led to a google search, that led to a full blown bout of worry. It was sudden and it was consuming. I was no longer looking at my baby with the warm feelings of gratitude, I was anxiously checking whether she had symptoms matching the doom and gloom google results.
Oh how silly it all sounds looking back, but in moments like those worry grows like mold on a moist afternoon. It just takes one thought, one small thought, that lingers unchecked by truth. Then before you know it anxiety and worry gladly take over.
Us moms often think we’ll stop worrying when our kids grow up a bit. But the observable reality is, there’s always something to worry about — if we allow ourselves. If it’s not SIDS, it’s having a new teenage driver. If it’s not cancer, it’s adolescent recklessness. If it’s not our kids, it’s our spouse, or our parents, or simply our own health and safety. But the truth is, we are not victims of worry. Worry has nothing to do with our circumstances, rather it’s the overflow of a heart that’s lost sight of fully trusting in God.
Worry is that un-checked thought about some possibility that we didn’t entrust to God. To put it simply: it’s sin, it’s pointless, and it can make you miserable.
Worry: A Pointless Miserable Sin
Worry is sin, because it’s missing the mark. God calls Christians to trust in him, and worry is anything but that. In fact, if we trust in God, the Bible says our minds will be at peace. Isaiah 26:3 calls it “perfect peace.” And that perfect peace is what allows us to live out the truth that we ought to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).
The problem is, worry gets our minds so fixated on the “what-ifs” that we can’t focus on our good, dependable, trust-worthy God. Not to mention, we can get so lost in our worries that we end up grieving something that hasn’t happened, and may never happen. In other words, we experience weighty emotions for no actual reason.
Think about it: What good did it do me to get worked up about a possible diagnosis in my daughter? As Jesus said in Matthew 6:27, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Nor can we add an hour of life or safety or health to anyone we know and love! (So in answer to my question: worry did me no good!)
All that to say, worry is offensive to our trustworthy God, it’s terribly pointless, and it’s a sure-fire way to weigh you down and zap your joy (Proverbs 12:25).
Trust God Instead
Sadly, some of us are just drawn to worry (If you are not, praise God! And pray for your friends who are!). But though we might be prone to it, we shouldn’t get stuck in it. Reason being, we have a good, powerful, wise God, whom we can fully trust.
Ultimately with God as our focus, we should realize we have nothing to fear. For if something does go wrong, we know it comes from God’s good sovereign plan. And if his plan involves suffering, we know there’s a reason he allowed it, he’ll be there with us, and he’ll see us through.
So what did I need to do when the concerns for my newborn started consuming me? I needed to choose to not be anxious and present my requests to God (Phil 4:6)… and then think about something else. Why would I purposefully ponder the unknown potential possibilities? Why would I waste my joy on a problem I don’t yet have? I just needed to pray and then move on. And when the concerns creeped up again, I’d pray again, and move on again. And I could repeat this process as much as needed (making it a super fruitful day of prayer, instead of one weighed down with worry!).
It’s our choice, we can go the road of pointless miserable sin, or we can focus on our good God whom we can trust no matter what comes. I think we should choose the latter. No doubt, it’s a lot easier said than done, but with God’s strength it’s more than doable.
So next time the unknowns start plaguing us, let’s pray, let’s trust God, and then, let’s move on.