What Our Worry Reveals
Americans are less worried than they were last month, according to a new Gallup poll. Worry increased dramatically in March, when the pandemic and governments’ responses hit in full force. The recent decrease in worry coincides with the lifting of many pandemic-inspired restrictions, showing that “reopening America” truly is good for mental health.
It also reveals something else: how much we allow our circumstances to dictate our attitudes. (I’m not talking about clinical depression or other mental illnesses.) Well, of course a global pandemic and an economic crisis are going to make people worried, you might say. If there were ever a good reason to worry, that’d be it, right?
The trouble is that, for Christians, there’s never a good reason to worry, regardless of the circumstances.
Do not be anxious about anything.
Do not be anxious about your life.
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
That’s what God says. Not, Do not be anxious about tomorrow, unless there’s a pandemic. Or, Do not let your hearts be troubled, unless you get sick or lose your job.
He simply says, Don’t worry.
The Unequivocal Solution
At the same time that God’s Word tells us not to be anxious, it also acknowledges that we experience this very emotion. The commands to not be anxious are unequivocal. But so is the solution — taking our worry to God and trusting him with our lives.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
Do not be anxious about your life. … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:25, 33)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. (John 14:1)
Trusting God isn’t easy, especially when one is out of the habit. You may think you trust him, like I often do, until something bad happens. Then you see your “trust” was decorative and not at all load bearing.
So ask yourself, How much comfort does casting my cares on the Lord bring me? How many times do I even try to give him my concerns and rest in his peace?
The answers reveal our innermost heart — where we really put our confidence. Maybe it’s in stability, in keeping certain routines. Maybe it’s in wealth, health or in possessions. What do I need to regain in order for this worry to go away? There’s your idol.
Discernment, Courage, Peace
But isn’t there ever cause for legitimate concern? Of course. And don’t some situations need to change? Definitely. But who do you think will guide you to take the appropriate actions? Who do you think will give you the discernment and courage to make the necessary changes?
The answer always points back to him. Cast your anxiety on him. Give your concerns to him. Trust him, and then let his Spirit lead. He’ll lead you to a better place in the right way and in the right time — and he’ll give you peace now.
Liberty McArtor, former staff writer for The Stream, is a freelance writer in the great state of Texas, where she lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with her husband and son. Follow Liberty on Twitter @LibertyMcArtor, or learn more about her at LibertyMcArtor.com.