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Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25 NLT

worryWhen I was growing up I remember singing an old chorus that went something like, “Why worry when you can pray, trust Jesus, He’ll be your stay. Don’t be a doubting Thomas, trust fully in his promise? Why Worry, Worry, Worry, Worry, When you can pray.”

Cute little chorus and I remember enjoying singing it often. Then life set it. I became a grown-up. I watched the news; I fought valiantly (and often lost) battles with temptation; People let me down, ridiculed me, misunderstood me and put way too many expectations on me. I made stupid mistakes and waited for the consequences to set in. I think that’s why I worry.

Worry is really nothing more than a form of idolatry. Worry says, in a sense, “This is too much for me to handle, therefore it must be too much for God to handle. I’m doomed!”

King Solomon was right when he wrote in the book of Proverbs, “Worry weighs a person down…” Those of us who struggle with worry know the feeling. Worry is like a downward spiral. The more we worry, the more stress we bring on ourselves. The more stress, the more worry. We lose sleep, which causes stress which causes worry which causes stress which…well, you get the idea.

Worry robs us of the joy God intended us to have. Worry affects our relationships. Those who are chronic worriers become ‘Debbie Downer’ type people. Worry can cripple our creativity and steal away our ability to reason wisely.

So, what can those of us who struggle with worry do? First of all (and this may seem obvious to you), Pray. Jeremiah 33:3 says, ‘ Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.’  (NLT)

God repeatedly tells us in his word that we will have struggles. We will be persecuted, mistreated, misunderstood and even killed. But he also assures us that nothing can happen outside of his permissive will. He tells the prophet Jeremiah to ask him and he’ll reveal to him all he NEEDS to know about tomorrow. Key word there is NEED. Jesus says, don’t worry about tomorrow. Work on today. Tomorrow is already taken care of.

When the enemy of worry attacks, what should you do? Here are some things I have tried to do. (I’m still working on these.)

  1. Is this something that will definitely happen? (Psychologists tell us that nearly 80% of the things people worry about are things that will never happen)
    1. If Yes, move to step two.
    2. If no, the chances are unlikely that this will happen, Pray that God will release you from this bondage of worry and help you trust in him.
  2. If what you are worrying about is likely to happen then ask yourself if there is anything you can do about it.
    1. If Yes, move to step three.
    2. If No, Pray that God will release you from the bondage of worry. The enemy wants to constantly question God’s promises to you. (Garden of Eden ring a bell)
  3. If what you are worrying about is real and there is something you can do about it strategize ways in which to take action. Four areas of your own life to consider in the strategy are:
    1. Communication: How is my prayer life? Am I really in touch with God on how I should act/respond to this crisis?
    2. Circumstances: What have I learned in the past about this type of situation?
    3. Counsel: Who am I listening to? God sends people into our lives to help us through the tough times. The enemy sends people into our lives to mess with our minds. Seek counsel from those you can trust and who have shown by their lives that God is working in them and through them. This may be a pastor, a friend, or if the problem is severe enough, a professional counselor. It’s amazing to me how we are more than willing to go to a medical doctor for physical ailments but those ailments of the heart we tend to think we can heal ourselves. Get help if you need it from a professional.
    4. Conscience: What does my gut tell me? After you have spent time with God listening and sharing your heart; after you have pondered the wisdom gained through your past; after you have sought godly counsel, there will still be times you need to rely on that gut feeling you have. When you are in tune with God, this is often the Holy Spirit speaking to you.

Why worry? We have a loving heavenly Father that wants to see us through the tough times in life.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please forgive me for my lack of faith and the idolatry that keeps me from trusting you. Thank you that you know my heart, my needs, my fears and my frustrations far better than I do. I pray against the demon of worry in my life and ask that based on your power you remove it from me. Amen.

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January 2015
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