According to the Mayo Clinic and many in the medical profession, experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. But it is also possible to suffer from excessive worry, and, in fact, many people with anxiety disorders frequently have “intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.” It Is possible to “over-worry,” which can damage us physically, for sure, but also relationally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
Where are you on the anxiety/assurance scale? Are you closer to the high anxiety side or the high assurance side? What do you worry about? Kids, health, family, marriage, money, other relationships? I know these are just a few of the many things people worry about each day. The big question is, how do we win over worry? How do we advance in moving from anxiousness to assurance?
The Bible tells us not to worry:
- Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything…”
- And in Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus tells us, “…do not worry…”
Many health professionals, mental health experts and well-known authors caution us against worry as well:
- “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” –Leo F. Buscaglia
- “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” –Erma Bombeck
But far too often we choose to worry anyway. Below are three keys to winning over worry that I believe serve as a framework to dealing with excessive worry in our lives. This framework includes an antidote to apply, a question to ask, and a choice to make.
- ANTIDOTE: The antidote to worry is TRUST.
- QUESTION: How much do I TRUST God?
- CHOICE: Today, I choose TRUST over worry.
In Joshua chapters 3 & 4 we see that Joshua had a lot to worry about. He’s given the ominous task of leading the Israelites on their conquest of the Promised Land (a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:7). That’s pretty high-stakes stuff. He also has the worry of caring for everyone’s safety, knowing that many of the people now under his care could die as they make their way into and through enemy territory. And then there was the Jordan River they had to cross, which was running at flood stage. Trying to get across with women and young children and aging family members was no slam dunk. But Joshua trusted (ch 3) and remembered (ch 4) — two very important principles that we need to apply as well. We can trust God and we need to remember His many blessings. As I walk through these two chapters I’m encouraged by how Joshua conquered worry — and how I can too. It all comes down to trust.
Psalm 37:3-6 reminds us to, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”
Here’s how Joshua conquered worry in the face of incredible odds, and here’s how we can conquer worry too:
TRUST IN GOD’S FAITHFULNESS
- Joshua remembered God’s faithfulness in the past (remember the story about the Red Sea & the Egyptians? He was there for that!) and he believed God would be faithful in the future. We need to do the same. Take a moment right now and make a list of God’s blessings in your life. Look at it often and remember! As we reflect on God’s faithfulness, our trust level grows and worry dissipates. Remember, when trust walks in, worry walks out.
TRUST IN GOD’S LOVE
- Joshua remembered that God had promised to never leave them nor forsake them. God was for them, with them, and He loved them. They were not alone now and would not be alone in the future. God was with them every step of the way, whether they were crossing the Red Sea or the Jordan River. He is with us too. He cares for us and is there for us. We need to remember God’s love is infinite. He loves you and me and has our best interests at heart, always. Remember His love. Let it build your faith, strengthen your trust, and drive out worry.
TRUST IN GOD’S WIDSOM AND POWER
- Joshua had seen the parting of the Red Sea and had observed the powerful Egyptian army completely vanquished by God’s mighty hand. There was no doubt that God was all-powerful. And He is all-wise, too. He knows what we need when we need it. And He has the power to meet our needs.Joshua trusted in God’s wisdom and power as he faced his ominous assignment. He knew that wherever God would guide He would provide. And where He leads He meet our needs. Joshua remembered and trusted and as he did His faith grew and his worry diminished. I’m reminded again that no matter how big my obstacle, when compared to the bigness of my God, my God is always bigger and mightier and able to help me overcome and rise above.
So let’s pray today that we can conquer worry by choosing to trust. Remembering is key. When we remember His faithfulness, love, wisdom and power, our trust grows. And as our trust grows, there is little room left for worry.