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Worry: Time to Let it Go

It is easy to say we trust God. It’s a basic Christian statement and one we believe in theory. But when faced with day to day living it can be hard to live in practicality. Can I trust God in my life? Then why do I still worry? I’ve read multiple passages addressing worry and anxiety, and have heard (and written about) a host of good reasons why I should not worry.

● Worry is sinful. Worry is a failure to trust God and believe His promises to us. Multiple passages command against worry such as Psalm 55:22: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

● Worry is non-productive. Spending time worrying detracts from my usefulness in the present, and does nothing substantial to address the subject of my worry. I spend time with my thoughts instead of with God. The first thing to do with worry is to pray!

● Worry is unhealthy. It is mentally and physically and spiritually draining. It’s bad for us. It’s bad for those around us. “Anxiety weighs down the heart,” Proverbs 12:25a reminds us.

● Worry is silly. God, our God who runs the entire universe, promises He’ll take care of us! (Isaiah 41:10)

All of this makes sense intellectually. But I still worry, persistently and consistently. Worry and anxiety have become such a regular part of my experience that it’s hard to imagine life without them. But reading Christ’s words in Matthew 6:25-34 (and Ed Welch’s masterful exposition of them in his book Running Scared) has opened a picture of what a worry-free life might look like.

Today I am struck with the idea: it is actually possible to stop worrying.

Worry is often a question of trust, and we’ll keep worrying as long as we don’t really believe God our Father will take care of us. Ed Welch takes this a step further when he observes that the cure to worry is “to know the One we are called to trust.”[i] As we get to know our Father God intimately and personally, and reflect on His works for His people in the past and His works in our personal past, we can learn to trust Him enough to stop fretting about life. And when we stop fretting we can start thinking about our mission. That’s Jesus’ imperative in Matthew 6, which we’re all so familiar with but so scared to live out: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34).

While worry is often a question of trust, it is not always the case. Sometimes it arises from legitimate feelings of responsibility. It would be one thing to just trust God to take care of me, but there’s my wife and my kids to think about as well. I read passages like 1 Timothy 5:8 which warns Christians to take care of their families and feel justified in my anxiety. How do we balance responsibility and carefree living (a word that might mean precisely the life commanded in Matthew 6 when taken literally)? This is something I’m still learning. There is a real balance. We should have concern for the people under our care, but we should also be free of crippling worry. Perhaps the answer lies in trusting God to care for my wife and children. Do I know my Father God enough, do I trust him enough, to put them in His hands and stop fretting? After all, the same intellectual arguments apply to more “legitimate worries” like these. The actual effects of a fretful, uber-responsible anxiety produces a cranky guy who’s hard to live with. This, in turn, does not actually do anything productive for the welfare of others.

It’s time to let it go. I’m praying and working toward an active trust in God so big that I can leave the future and the past in His hands, and focus joyfully on the present. It’s time to let the worries drop away so I can move on to seek Christ’s kingdom now, and let Someone much more capable worry about the future. 

God not only takes care of us but cares deeply about us. Believe God’s promises in your mind and your heart, and live accordingly. Drop your burden of worry at the cross and live with a renewed passion for Christ’s kingdom!

I listen to a lot of kid songs… But they are surprising good reminders that stick in my brain, coming up again at helpful times.

[i] Welch, Ed. Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest. New Growth Press. Greensboro, NC. 2007. P. 110

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