“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” – Michel de Montaigne
I chuckled to myself when I first read this quote. It’s relatable, and quite frankly, true. Maybe not to the extent of miserable and terrible misfortune, but many of us walk around worrying about things that probably are never going to happen to us.
Did you know that 85 percent of things we worry about are probably never going to happen?
Robert L. Leahy, the Director of American cognitive therapy, conducted a study where he found that 85 percent of what his subjects worried about never happened. And with the 15 percent that did happen, close to 80 percent of his subjects realized that they could have handled the difficulties better than expected. Or, they learned some type of lesson worth learning from that difficulty.
In this blog post I want to provide some tips that can help us worry less, but first, let’s look at some of the more common things people (including myself) tend to worry about:
- Money: Arguably, money is the biggest worry for most people. It’s the means to our livelihood. We need to live, eat, survive.
- Future: The future is uncertain, so it brings us a sense of worry. We can ask a million “what if” questions even though there is nothing we can do about the future.
- Self: “What will they think of me?” “what if I look bad?” Many of our worries revolve around self preservation. The eyes and thoughts of people can often become larger than the the eyes and thoughts of God.
- Family and friends: Out of all the worries we can have, worrying about the well being of others might be the least selfish one, since our cares are directed to those we care about.
Although most of these are valid and important concerns, we should never allow worry to take control of our lives. It can be destructive to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
Did you know that stress hormones that worry dumps in your brain is linked to premature aging, shrinking brain mass, and even heart disease? Not only that, but worry also makes us ineffective. We become paralyzed by millions of scenarios we play out in our minds that will probably never happen.
But most importantly, when worry becomes the tenor of our thoughts, it points to a spiritual problem: a lack of faith in God. It’s saying to God, “you are not big enough to take care of my worries.” Although we can feel that way sometimes, that statement is certainly false. God is big enough and more than capable of taking care of our worries.
God Values you More than Any Other Creation
25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
In the passage above, Jesus demonstrates God’s care and provision for the birds. They don’t labour for their food, or store it away in barns, but doesn’t God provide for them? And they are only birds!
You were created in God’s image. You are God’s most prized possession. You are so valuable to Him that He gave up His son to die on a cross just so you can have the opportunity to receive His grace.
What makes you think that He is not concerned with your life? God values you and wants the best for you.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
God is Aware of your Needs
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
No one is more aware of your needs than God. At times we can feel like God doesn’t understand what it means to have human needs; but let’s not forget the incarnation. Remember, God became a man in the person of Jesus and lived on Earth for over 30 years. He felt everything that we feel. He was tempted in every way that we are tempted. It should bring us some assurance that God not only knows our needs, but He also understands them and cares deeply about them.
God Provides According to Your Needs
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33
God promises to provide for us, not everything we want, but with everything we need to live out His will for our lives. The problem is that we often desire God’s blessings more than we desire God Himself. It’s not that it’s wrong to want material things; it only becomes a problem when we place them above God or on the same level as God.
In the scripture above, Jesus reminds us to prioritize the eternal over the temporary: His Kingdom and His righteousness above ourselves and our material possessions. When we do so, everything else will fall in its proper place.
Think about it: earthly things decay while God and His kingdom live on forever. Now if you place your trust in earthly things, what do you think will happen to you when those earthly things perish? You’ll perish along with them. For that reason, Jesus reminds us not to worry about these things. They are important, but they are not as important as your life and your eternal dwelling place.
So next time you are feeling worried, think about how much God values you, how He knows your needs, and how He promises to provide for you.
I also understand that some people need professional guidance and even medication when it comes to mental health concerns. Everyone has their own unique battles and struggles to face. But God is always there to comfort, love, protect, and to remind us that there is always peace and hope when we turn to Him.
That being said, I’ll finish off with sharing this scripture:
Philippians 4: 6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. Bringing your worries to God in prayer is an act of surrender and faith. Remember, God is greater than all your worries.