By Nancy J. Farrier
What is it about worry that creeps up and grabs me by the throat before I’m even aware of its presence? I know I should ignore this emotion. I know I should be strong. I know this is an attack. Or is it?
I’ve heard people say worry is a sin, but I’m not sure I agree. I believe worry can become a sin, depending on what you choose to do. Scripture tells me not to worry about my life, my food or drink, my body (What?! Not worry about my weight?), my clothes, tomorrow, or what to say. (Mt. 6:25,28; 10:19; 13:11)
So, what do I do when my child is driving on a busy freeway alone for the first time? What about when a friend, or family member, is waiting to hear about a biopsy? When losing a home? When money is running low and there is nothing to eat in the house? When someone I love has been arrested? When life is uncertain as it so often is?
I am facing uncertainty in my life right now, and I thought I had everything covered. I prayed about the future. My heart and mind were at peace. But, peace can evaporate in an instant. A word, or question from a well-meaning friend, can resurface those concerns. (Because we don’t want to label them worries and concerns sounds so much better. Right?)
A couple of Sundays past, I showed up early to practice with the worship team. Between the time we finished and the start of the first worship service, I had about thirty or forty minutes, so I went for a walk in the neighborhood. I like to do this and pray for the people I don’t know. Pray their day will be blessed. Pray they will think on the Lord. Pray they will choose to go to church.
As I walked, one of my big concerns rose up and grabbed me. We are moving. Moving where there will be no close church I want to attend. My ministry opportunities are ending where I’m at. Does God still want to use me? Where will I fit in? What will I do? Who will I find for fellowship?
That may seem like a stupid concern. Of course, God still wants to use me. He provides all I need, including fellowship. I know that in my heart, but my head still worries if I’m not careful. So, as I walked, I prayed. Prayed about the future ministry God has for me. He doesn’t have to fill me in now, but I needed some peace and affirmation that He’s got this. Within moments, I had the calm I sought.
I sat out during out first service, but when I came in toward the end to be ready for the last worship song, the Pastor was finishing his message on using your gifts God has given you. During second service I heard the whole message. How God wants to use you if you surrender to Him. He will show you what he wants you to do. You don’t have to worry, simply be there for Him.
The next evening, I had an online board meeting with a Christian writers group. Before the meeting began the new President wanted to read a short devotion and pray. Her devotion topic—using the gifts God has given you.
Yes, Lord, I hear You. You’ve got this and I have no need to worry about what is ahead. No need to worry or be concerned. I’m taking a deep breath and forging ahead with Him leading the way.
So, when does worry become a sin? Phil. 4:6 tells the answer. When I worry, I have a choice to let that emotion take control and lead to anxiety, or I can pray. It’s that simple. When I pray and tell god my concerns, He will give me peace beyond what I can understand. Through that prayer, my heart and mind are guarded against the enemy. (Phil. 4:7)
My belief is that worry isn’t always an attack of the enemy, but sometimes God allows concerns so I will be drawn to seek Him out. When worry creeps up and grabs me by the throat, I simply pray, trusting God will get me through. And He does. Every time.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6,7 NKJV