My junior high school published a monthly newspaper called the Cardinal Star. It was written by a dozen or so eighth graders. I was thrilled at the end of seventh grade when I was chosen to be one of the people who informed and entertained our school each month. We wrote about teachers, clubs, sports, class projects, and anything else we could think of. But we especially loved the silly things: quizzes, puzzles, games, and jokes. One of my favorite things to write were “what ifs”.
What if the sky was green instead of blue?
What if the principal used Rogaine?
What if Mr. P taught home ec and Mrs. P taught science?
What if the football team wasn’t good?
What if the basketball team was?
What if we had pizza for lunch every day?
Each issue had pages of these silly questions, absurdities, impossibilities, and inside jokes. And we loved them.
But now life is full of different what ifs.
What if that check doesn’t clear?
What if I forget to lock the door and someone breaks in? What if I lock the door and
someone breaks in anyway?
What if I get sick?
What if gas gets too expensive?
What if there is a tornado/earthquake/ hurricane?
What if I get hurt in a car accident?
What if I lose my job?
What if that mistake I made blows up in my face?
What if he/she does this/that?
I am always worrying about what is going to happen next. And I know I am not the only one.
But Jesus made it clear that He expects us not to worry!
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
"And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?
"You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-34 (NASB)
Jesus plainly told us that worrying is a symptom of a larger problem – lack of faith. Jesus has kept the world moving for thousands of years, but we’re worrying about our (often hypothetical) problems.
We let our worries take our focus off of God. We need to take control of those worries so that our focus can be on serving God. When we’re doing this, He promises to take care of us.
When I start feeling anxious, the first thing I do is figure out exactly why I am worried. Because I generally feel anxious a lot of the time, I don’t always know why I’m feeling that way. I take a moment to think through my day and usually that is enough to bring to my mind what is bothering me.
Once I know exactly what it is I’m worried about, I decide if there is anything I can do about it. Sometimes there is a solution, but other times, my worries are future worries that I can’t do anything about. Having an action in mind is obviously helpful when managing worry, but I've found that simply acknowledging there is nothing I can do about it helps as well.
The most important step, though, is hopefully the obvious one: prayer. We should be talking to God throughout our day anyway, so when a worry or concern comes up, we should be taking it directly to Him. Tell Him what you’re worried about. Ask Him to take care of it, and then ask Him to help you quit worrying about it.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)
What things do you worry about? How do you handle them?