Letting Go of Worry—Will You Choose Joy?

Overcoming Worry

Do you worry? Ever? Sometimes? Often? Seldom?

Worry can rob us of life. It can paralyze us. It sure affects me. I lose sleep because of worry. Do you? About the only thing I don’t lose is weight!

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

What are some of the things we worry about? Let’s make a list.

  1. Work (maybe job security)
  2. Money
  3. Being late
  4. Health
  5. Relationships
  6. Appearance
  7. Safety (for our children, for our country)
  8. Security
  9. The future (for our kids or our grandkids)
  10. Paying your mortgage or putting food on the table

I’m sure there are a hundred more but these seem to be the top ten. In my younger years, money topped my list. Now, not so much. Not because I’m wealthy but because I don’t need or want as much as I did in my younger days. My biggest worry now is the future of my kids and grandkids. I worry a little about health but not as much as the future.

When we first moved to Texas from Georgia we left our dog, Buckus, with my daddy who spoiled him rotten I might add. We worried that Buckus might not like our new home. The environment and overall landscape of Texas are so different from Georgia. Being an outside dog, we worried it might be too hot. He might not like his new doghouse. We worried about flying him from Georgia to Texas. We worried about everything.

The day Buckus arrived from Georgia, we brought him home from the airport and introduced him to his new home and surroundings. He took one look at the pool and jumped in. From that point on whenever he got hot, he sat on the top step of the pool and I’m relatively sure he sat there smiling. He settled right in. All that worry for nothing.

Paul talks about this worry we all seem to stay caught up in. This anxiousness that covers us like an itchy blanket. In his letter to the Philippians Paul speaks about living a joy-filled life. But you can’t if you are in constant worry.

It’s important to our well-being to find joy. Some might say they can see or find happiness in life. Happiness is good but joy is deeper. I get that we believe we can’t find it in all the circumstances of life. There’s a however to that statement and here it is: If you find your joy in the Lord it doesn’t matter the circumstances.

The world doesn’t offer us joy only God can do that. Don’t then make the mistake that just because you have joy you won’t have issues or be happy all the time. When troubles come the joy of the Lord will be your strength. The knowledge that God is with you is your power. If you’re worried you need to pray it will change you.

Paul tells us in verse 6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Prayer changes you not God. If you pray, you’ll feel the burden of your worries lift off your shoulders.

The next thing that helps with worry is giving thanks for what you have. This lifts you further. I see those eyes rolling. But it’s true. It’s difficult. I’ll give you that, but it’s possible and it’s even less naive than some might believe for those who might possess that way of thinking.

In the movie Places in The Heart, the character, Royce Spalding says grace before having dinner. It goes like this: “Our Heavenly Father, bless this meal and all those who are about to receive it. Make us thankful for Your generous bounty, and Your unceasing love. Please remind us, in these hard times, to be grateful for what we have been given, and not to ask for what we cannot have. And make us mindful of those less fortunate among us, as we sit at this table with all of Thy bounty. Amen.”

This always reminds me of my granddaughter, Finley, who is always exceedingly happy with whatever she has in front of her. Whether it’s a gift or a surprise—she’s always happy with it. Whether it’s a backpack she sees for upcoming pre-school or a plate of French fries. She loves it. And it doesn’t matter one bit that the backpack is almost bigger than her. It has princesses on it and that’s what she loves most. As for the French fries, well, she just loves them.

That’s what Paul wrote about to the Philippians—being grateful for what we have and not for what we don’t—and not worrying about it. To focus on what’s important. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (vs. 8) of our scripture.

Paul wants us to focus most on God’s love. Darkness can’t drive out darkness only light can do that. This applies to love and hate as well. Hate can’t drive out hate. Only love can do that. Paul wrote this letter from prison. He knew he’d never get out. He knew the plan to execute him. He explained to the people: I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (vs. 12) of our scripture. Focusing on God’s love is the key to eliminating worry in our life.

When we realize that worry never changes anything we lead much happier lives. We become content in all situations. We learn to rely on God’s strength even though there might be those who want or try to help.

Paul says, But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. And he didn’t mean seeing something you want to do and doing it. He meant he could find contentment in Christ no matter what life threw at him. Our hope must be in the eternal not the external.

When you’re overcome with worry look at the times you worried and it never happened and when it did, did you not find that God got you through it?

If so, don’t you think that God can be trusted?

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!

Wishing you all a very Happy and Safe 4th of July!