Worry and anxiety are common feelings. You might be feeling anxious about something right now as you read this. Personally, I can feel anxious if I get overwhelmed by my responsibilities, my worries about what others think of me, or my fears that I’m not good enough.
It can certainly feel as if the entire world is resting on my shoulders. (As the earth has a circumference of nearly 25,000 miles and a population of nearly 8,000,000,000, that’s a lot of pressure!)
When we get anxious, it’s easy to get self-absorbed. It’s easy to allow our fears and insecurities to dominate our minds. But we don’t have to feel this way. We can look up. God reminds us in His Word to NOT worry about anything, but to put our trust in His loving care for us.
We Are to Release Our Worry
The Bible contains many passages about dealing with worry and anxiety. In His teaching known as the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus spoke on the subject. We are to NOT be anxious about our needs, but to trust that God will provide. In our moments of need, God often gives others the opportunity to share their blessings and His love with us.
Jesus asks, “Can any of you add one moment to his lifespan by worrying?” He asks this to make a point. Our worry often impedes our ability to accomplish our goals and live well.
Lately, I have stressed about getting all my work done with school, chores, and earning my driver’s license. It’s been a lot. But I realized that if I continue to focus on worry, I won’t have the energy to actually do what I need to get done. So when I start to feel anxious, I like to think on Philippians 4:7, which promises: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Worry exhausts us. But reading the Bible refreshes us with God’s supernatural power. Prayer does, too. Prayer really relaxes me. As I tell God my worries, He reminds me that I can trust Him. God is our good, good Father. Even when our circumstances feel like they’re leading to crisis, we can release our worry by trusting that God is working things out for us, as the Bible promises.
Biblical Example: Trust Over Worry
One of my favorite Bible stories is in the book of Judges. God chose an Israelite by the name of Gideon to free the Israelites from their oppressive enemies. In the book of Judges, we learn what the Israelites were enduring:
Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites were forced to prepare shelters to hide themselves in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and others invaded their land to ravage it. They ruined the Israelites’ crops and killed their livestock. Season after season their enemies so impoverished them, that Israel cried out to the Lord for help.
Gideon was just a regular guy, so it probably freaked him out when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The angel then told Gideon what God wanted him to do: lead the Israelites in battle. Not surprisingly, Gideon didn’t want the job. He instantly dove into fear and anxiety mode. His knees probably started knocking bad!
“How can I save Israel?” he asked (whimpered?). “My family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.” Yeah, Gideon, God knows what He’s working with. He likes to show us just how powerful WE can be when we tap into HIS power!
God encouraged Gideon to “be courageous” and “trust in the Lord.” I feel assured in my endeavors when people encourage me. Clearly, God’s encouragement helped Gideon. Though still frightened by his situation, Gideon chose to trust God and lead Israel into battle. But first God whittled Gideon’s army down to only 300 men, just to make it clear that the victory was due to God’s might, not Israel’s.
Most of our worry is created by our thinking we have to face life on our own, under our own power. We sometimes don’t want to tell people our fears or needs because it makes us feel too vulnerable. I’m sure Gideon felt REALLY vulnerable at stepping into that surprise leadership role. But look what he gained for himself and Israel by not letting his fear and worry stop him!
Gideon worried. You and I worry. It is a human response, but not an unbeatable one. Let us “take every thought captive,” as the Bible tells us, and hand our fears and anxiety and doubts over to God. God delights in our faith, and in showing Himself faithful!
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