March 28, 2012

Stop worrying, start trusting

I have a tendency to worry.  A lot.  My mom can attest to the fact that I need many reminders to focus on the present and stop worrying about what is going to happen next. I read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan at the end of my senior year in college, and this excerpt from the book really stopped me dead in my tracks.

"Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives.  Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.  Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional.  Both worry and stress reak of arrogance.  They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed."

Hearing that really changed by way of thinking because I never thought about how my worrying shows a lack of trust in God.

Also, my husband and I just finished a couple's study at our church on the book A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri.  (I highly recommend this book by the way.  We learned so, so, so much about the background of the mass and the scriptural basis for every single thing we do at mass.) Anyways, the theme of worry came up again through talking about the prayer that follows the Lord's prayer:  "Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may always be free from sin and safe from all distress, as we wait the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus."

Edward Sri says "when preoccupations dominate our hearts and cause us to lose our peace, it is a sign that something is wrong spiritually. We are not truly trusting God with our lives."  There it is again - worry is equivalent to a lack of trust in God.


And again, I found that same idea in the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  I loved this quote about worry: "It fixes our eyes on our situation rather than on our Savior."  It's so true! Joanne Weaver also says that worry typically stops us from leading the lives God wants us to live, and worry certainly doesn't prevent bad things from happening.

I also loved that this book talked about the distinction between concern and worry.  Concern is very specific and there is a legitimate threat involved, whereas worry is often generalized and unfounded.  With concern, you look towards God for an answer, but with worry you look to others or yourself for answers.  "Concern draws us to God.  Worry pulls us from him."  I think it's perfectly justified to be concerned for someone in your life who is really sick.  However, I don't think that it's good for me to spend time worrying about my future because it is such a broad, general thing, and I need to spend my time focusing on God.  My worry needs to be changed to concern for specific issues in the present.


Jesus even tells us himself why we should not worry in the Bible:

"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 clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into farms, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not more important than they?  Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"
- Matthew 6:25-27


Read the rest of the passage through Matthew 6:34.  All of it talks about how we need to trust God and depend on him for our needs.  God takes care of all living creatures without a soul, and we are so much more important than that to him.  Obviously he is looking out for us and our needs at all times. He has our best interests in mind every second of our lives.

Reading about worry from all of these sources, I feel like it is almost offensive and upsetting for God to see us worry about things going on in our daily lives.  My husband would certainly be upset if I worried all the time about whether or not his job would provide for our needs.  It would be showing a lack of trust in his abilities, just as worry shows a lack of trust in God and his promise to take care of us.

" Rejoice in the Lord always.  I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all.  The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus Christ." 
- Phillipians 4:6

I'm working on not wasting my time with worry, but will instead praying and being thankful to God for all of the blessings in my life.  I'll be working harder to put my trust in God and to remember that he's got my back all the time.  

Love,
C

14 comments:

  1. Fabulous!!!! It sounds great, but it's soooooooo hard to do. I have been working on this too...it was a major Lent thing for me, a self-work I promised I would do. As soon as the stress hits, I have to remind myself to stop, breathe, pray. LOL. :)

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    1. Haha so true, it can be harder than it seems! Breathing and praying always seem to help! :)

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  2. Hello. Just wanted to introduce myself and thank you for becoming my "follower!" I just stumbled upon your blog this week and was very, very inspired by your posts! And as you probably noticed, I totally stole your 11 random questions from your previous post. I just thought they were fun questions to answer in my own blog post.

    Along with this post, I am the same way. I worry about everything and I forget that I have a BIG, ALMIGHTY GOD that has MY WHOLE LIFE in HIS HANDS, and that He'll never abandon me. Bad things happen when people forget about God's providence and goodness. But sadly, our human nature makes us want to rely on ourselves all the time and worry about everything.

    Well, have a great day. I am looking forward to future posts!

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  3. Oh yeah, and it's a funny coincidence, but I wrote a blog post about worrying about 2 months ago as well: http://agnes1990.blogspot.com/2012/01/therefore-do-not-worry-about-tomorrow.html

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    1. Hi Agnes! I am glad that you answered the questions I posted! :) I will have to check out your post about worry.

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  4. Great post!!

    I tend to worry way too much, and about things that really aren't all that important, or that I can't do anything about anyway...

    I think I might print out the excerpt from Crazy Love and put where I can see it often.

    If you don't mind I am going to link this post on my blog.

    ...and thank you for following me!!

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    1. Hi Molly! I think I need to print out the quote too! I definitely do not mind you linking to the post. I am looking forward to keeping up with your blog! :)

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  5. Wonderful post! I think I need to show this to my oldest daughter. She worries about so many things all the time.
    A few weeks ago, somebody on Catholic radio (can't recall who) said just about what you said, that it's insulting to God when we worry all the time. That's so true.
    BTW I love your blog. :)

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  6. Thanks Amanda! :) You should definitely show her.

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  7. I'm glad I found your blog, My mantra lately has been think less, pray more!

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    1. I will have to check out your blog! Great mantra :)

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  8. A very important post. When we worry, we are focused on the world and our "stuff"; when we trust in God, the focus is on Him. I come from a family of worriers and am faithfully working toward breaking the habit by consciously putting everything in the hands of God. Glad you're participating in Sunday Snippets.

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    1. So true! I am trying to break the habit as well.

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  9. I need to read the book you recommended about the difference between concern and worry. I am in my 50's and have been a worrier since high school (I have the stomach to prove it.) I had breast cancer when my children were 4y.o. and 10 months old (that was 15 years ago now and I've been cancer free since), but I still "worry" when I get sick or my stomach goes spastic (I've had all tests known to mankind and have been diagnosed with Celiac's disease and IBS.) I pray a lot and my prayers have always been answered, but yet I still worry...or am I just concerned because of my health background? Thanks for writing this! God bless you.

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