Worrying is giving way to anxiety or unease; to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. As Barb Roose pointed out last weekend, the word “worry” is actually related to the Old English word for “strangle.” Chew on that one for a little bit. While we all worry from time to time, excessive worrying can lead to health problems that may affect your appetite, energy, relationships, sleep, and job performance. It can strangle the life out of you! Worship, on the other hand, is the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. The difference between worry and worship is about who you are talking to. When we worship and pray, we are taking the focus off ourselves and placing it on God. We are putting our faith in a God who is capable and powerful enough to take care of all of our worries.
Jesus demonstrates how to make the powerful shift from “what if” to “God, if.” Matthew 26:39 says, “He [Jesus] went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’” On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus spends time praying in the garden of Gethsemane. Knowing the horrible suffering that is he is about to face, Jesus prays to God, “My Father, if …” Instead of focusing on the “what if’s,” Jesus shifts his focus to God.
When I find myself stuck in a cycle of worrying, it helps to listen to Christian music. Music is very powerful and very emotional. It can snap me out of my negative thoughts and refocus me on who God is and what his promises are for me. Another tool that reminds me of the character and compassion of God is a gratitude journal. I am not a journal writer, but I am a list maker. When my world feels out of control, I start making a list of the blessings in my life – big and small. Sometimes it turns into a game of how many things I can list … and I always manage to add a few more. I encourage you to find a preferred method – whether it’s music, writing, fellowship – that will snap you out of your pattern of worrying and allow you to redirect your thoughts to God. Today, shift from “what if” to “God, if!”
What are you worrying about today? How can you shift that worry from “what if” to “God, if?”
How does being reminded of the characteristics and promises of God help you when you’re worrying?
Identify and try one method – music, writing, fellowship, or something else – that can help redirect your focus to God.
God, thank you for the blessings in my life. Help me turn my worries over to you and trust that you are capable of handling any problem that I am facing. Amen.
This post was written by Kaye Althaus. Kaye is honored to be a member of the LivingItOut writing team. In her spare time, she loves to read and do crafts with friends. She and her husband live in the quiet country and raise chickens.
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