I have a friend named Worry. She is closer to me than my own shadow and almost always stops by unannounced and without invitation. In fact, if I let her, Worry would come with me everywhere I go.
I can’t exactly give our relationship a specific start date, but Worry and I have been close for years and years now. I was very young when we met. We really began hanging out together during my high school years. There were times when we were pretty close in college, but we drifted apart for a while, too. After graduation the real world came knocking, and Worry was right there beside me.
These last few years, Worry and I have been closer than ever. We talk every day, multiple times a day. She knows the deepest, darkest parts of me. Our pity parties are – in a word – legendary. There are nights when Worry wakes me up just so we can stay up together until my alarm sounds. If I am relaxing on the couch, Worry is there. If I am making dinner, Worry is there. If I am playing with my kids, Worry is there, too.
At first, I thought our relationship was harmless, but lately I have noticed that Worry is a taker – she never gives. She knows much more about me than I know about her. She brings out the worst in me and is a terrible influence. She’s disrespectful and often leaves me in tears. She tries to ruin my relationships with other people and never wants me to have fun and enjoy the moment.
I think we need a break.
I have struggled with worry and anxiety for a long time. Sometimes I feel as if my anxiety has a choke hold on me and my life. If I look at the relationship I have with worry as an actual relationship, it’s completely ridiculous. I would never put up with that type of behavior from a true friend – I know better than that. For whatever reason, I justify these things when it comes to my anxiety. Yes, some things that worry me are legitimate concerns; however, I cannot truly control much of what I worry about. On the other hand, there are tons of things I spend my time worrying about that haven’t even happened or may never happen. What a waste of time and energy!
Because of my faith in Christ, I know there is a better way to handle all of this. Over and over again, God talks about his desire to help us through all of life’s situations and ease our fears. I am not experiencing anxiety because God hasn’t kept his promises. I am choosing to hang onto my worries by not allowing God to take over.
The best example I can think of is this: my kids
never don’t always share. When one of them decides to share their toy, they will often change their mind in a matter of minutes and rip it back out of the other’s hands and yell “Mine!” This is exactly what I do to God with my worries. Sure, I’ll pray about it and ask for help, but I want to start worrying again shortly thereafter.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
I know I have trust issues and I like to handle things on my own without asking for help (a nice way of saying this is, I’m ‘independent’). I am a Type A personality and I do not procrastinate. I have little patience and when things are not accomplished in a timely manner, it’s very hard for me to let it go. Top this off with perfectionism and you have quite the little mixture of crazy. While this has served me well in some areas of life, it’s been a hindrance in others.
I have been worrying about the same few issues for a decent length of time now. It has weighed on me so much that it has begun to have physical and spiritual side effects. I am positive that much of my never-ending exhaustion is due to my anxiety levels. I have the useless ability to jump to the worst-case scenario for every situation and then dwell on that scenario for an inordinate amount of time. I also know that this is Satan’s way to attack me.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.”
I Peter 5:7
How do I handle my worries? I go straight to God through prayer and recommit to reading the Bible. My struggles and inadequacies are not meant to defeat me – they are meant to highlight my need for a Savior and send me into the loving arms of Christ. I cannot conquer my anxiety on my own. I have to lean on God and let him carry my worries for me.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It’s not easy for me to turn my worries over to God. It’s something I have to do on a daily basis. Depending on the day, I might have to submit worries to God on an hourly basis. It’s not just a one-and-done process. I am constantly learning and growing in my faith and it will be that way until the day that I die. But I know that if I am ever going to find peace, contentment, and rest I have to trust in my Creator.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Please know that if you are struggling with worry and anxiety that you are not alone and there is certainly hope for you to find relief. The verses I shared are just some of the many found in the Bible that talk about this issue. Jesus himself addressed the problem of anxiety; that in and of itself provides a great deal of comfort. I refuse to let the worries of life rob me of the joy I have in Christ. He has given me so much to be thankful for and enjoy.