Just Keep Worrying

Knit 1. Purl 2. Repeat. That’s how you make a scarf. Worry 1. Obsess 2. Repeat. That’s how you make your own craziness. I’ve made both. And believe me, knitting and purling are much more rewarding.

Worry and its dearest friend obsession are two of the most difficult companions to part ways with. They know you so well, and they find so many places to dwell. You can tell them to go away. Cry. Scream. Gnash your teeth. But they have a way of burrowing in.

Don't worry. Be happy. That's Biblical! (Photos by Amy Smith and Jordan Hansen)

Don't worry. Be happy. That's Biblical! (Photos by Amy Smith and Jordan Hansen)

Just to make sure you can keep worrying and obsessing, you probably have an unwritten list of things to worry and obsess about. I know I do. 

Best time to start reviewing that list? When you’re in bed and ready to go to sleep. A sure guarantee for restlessness, tears, and nighttime fears. Things may look better in the morning, but tonight everything looks awfully dismal.

Did you know that the word “worry” is mentioned at least 38 times in the New Living Translation of the Bible? And to prove how well he knows us, God uses the word “don’t” before the word “worry” at least 25 times. 

Writing about worry, the wonderful Christian writer and preacher (and widow) Anne Graham Lotz says: “You and I often play games with the names we call sin to make it seem less like sin. … We call the sin of unbelief, worry.”

The path of worry is a slippery slope. To begin, it masquerades as caring. Then it becomes concern, then doubt. As we turn it around and around and around in our minds, it soon becomes obsessive thinking. Finally, worry turns into all-out fear. And we become its prisoner.

No, the answer isn’t to just keep worrying. The answer is to turn those worries over to God early on. Before they can grow into monsters. The answer is faith. Unwavering faith that looks beyond what is seen and trusts in what is unseen. Trusts that God never leaves you or forsakes you.

As Christine Caine, one of my favorite writers and preachers, says in Living Life Undaunted: “You don’t even know what God is doing behind the scenes, but your answer is on its way.”

What are you worrying about today? It’s okay. Just go to God and give it to him. He’s already at work on it. And he wants to know that you’re trusting it to him.

Here’s one of the remedies for worry. Calls me down off the ledge and restores peace to my soul. Every time. Psalm 121.

I look up to the mountains — does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.