I am a great worrier. Yes, I wrote “worrier” not “warrior.” I don’t worry as much about things as I use to – that’s because I’m retired – but I still worry about things more than I should. Sometimes I think that this characteristic helped me to be successful in my work as an educator. At other times, I think that my profession caused me to become a worrier. I know, however, that is not true. I have always been a worrier.
Now you and I know that a Christian is not supposed to worry. I don’t know how many times I’ve been given that advice. When people tell me that, I often think of that great cultural philosopher, Alfred E. Neuman. You know who I mean; the goofy-grinned gentleman on the cover of MAD magazine. You have probably read his motto: “What – Me Worry?” When that image comes to mind, I think “Yeah, right!”
It seems to me that some people don’t worry enough. But, perhaps, that is another train of thought for another time. Too much worry has harmful effects, both physically and mentally. I can testify to that. That’s why I’m a work in progress. I must often return to the words of the Apostle Paul, “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.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
I have come to see in my own life that worry tends to dry up the work of grace that is going on inside me. It comes when the focus of my life is becoming distorted. It is a warning light that tells me I am not trusting in God’s providential care. After all, the future belongs to God. He is in charge. Trying to second guess God is the destruction of hope.
Pure faith will put an end to worry. Worry has taught me that its presence is a sign that I am trusting in the wrong god. Usually it is the god of my unfulfilled dreams that fills my thought life when I worry. William F. Ullathorne once wrote, “Beware of anxiety. Next to sin, there is nothing that so troubles the mind, strains the heart, distresses the soul, and confuses the judgment.”
Those are good words of advice. My own advice is to turn to the Bible for relief (particularly the Psalms) and apply God’s best medicine, which is prayer, to your battle with anxiety. Cast your cares on Him for whom no burden is too great.
Is there hope for me – “the habitual worrier?” The process may be slow, but yes there is hope for even me. This is what is so amazing about grace.
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