Worry: Thoughts from a Christian Counselor
What can I say? It’s in my blood.
I know firsthand what it’s like to worry. Worries seem to keep my mind busy and focused and yet they don’t accomplish anything. It’s similar to rocking in a rocking chair ̶ worrying gets me nowhere.
Worrying Makes No Sense for a Christian
1. Worry is totally fruitless.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” asks Jesus. (Matthew 6:27) We cannot add or subtract anything merely by being anxious. If we are preoccupied with worry, how can we accomplish much of anything?
2. Worry is disobedient.
The Bible is full of commands to:
- “Fret not.” (Psalm 37)
- “Fear not.” (Isaiah 41:10)
- “Let not your hearts be troubled.” (John 14:1)
- “Be not dismayed.” (Joshua 1:9)
On the contrary, we are called to “Be of good cheer”. (John 16:33)
3. Worry involves taking what does not belong to us.
Tomorrow is not for us to worry about. We can plan for tomorrow but we are not allowed to worry about it. Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about when he said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
4. Worry means refusing to enjoy the present
To fully receive the gifts given to us is to enjoy the moment. Often we are so concerned about what has been or what is to come that we cannot enjoy the moment. The present moment is a gift that we must enjoy or we will miss it.
5. Worry is the opposite of trust.
You simply cannot worry and trust ̶ that is like mixing oil and water. We worry because we are concerned about what will happen. To trust God is to know that He is in control and knows everything. We do not need to worry if we are confident that He is in control and cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
6. Worry is a waste of time and energy.
When you direct your time to worry, you waste time and miss the important things in life, including:
- playing with your child,
- listening to your spouse,
- inviting a lonely person to supper,
- writing a note to someone in need, and
- praying with thanksgiving.
Change Your Worry By Focusing on Christ
We are commanded to have a disciplined mind that focuses on Christ. We find this command when we read the following scriptures.
So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. (1 Peter 1:13)
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)
The story of Peter in Matthew 14 also shows us the importance of having a disciplined mind and a focus on Christ. In this account, Jesus called Peter out of the boat to walk on the water. Peter had faith to follow Jesus out onto the water, but after taking a few steps he saw his situation and his mind became unfocused. Peter froze with anxiety and worry, and began to sink.
How do I Practice a Christ-Centered Focus?
Here are some ways to change your worry into a Christ-centered focus.
- Change your thinking. You can do this by acknowledging your fear or the situation you are in and then shifting your focus onto Christ.
- Acknowledge God’s power. Turn your worry over to Him. Dig into His word and find His promises. He is faithful and will be there for you.
- Do something constructive. Change what you can change and let go of the things that are outside of your control. Let God work out the details.
- Take care of yourself. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Practice self-care by exercising, reading a book, taking a break, or talking to a friend.
- Learn to Laugh. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good medicine.” Laughter is good for your heart and immune system and relaxes the whole body. Try it.
- Practice gratitude. Studies have proven that those who are thankful live longer, happier lives. Start a gratitude journal, write a letter of thankfulness, or go for a gratitude walk. God has given you much to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it.
- Seek professional help.
A Christian Counselor Can Help You Overcome Worry
Many of us deal with stressful events daily, including conflict, health problems, dangerous situations, death, unmet needs, spiritual problems, and false beliefs. Worrying can account for hours and hours of invaluable time over the span of your lifetime and you will never get this time back. If you would like help breaking free from worry, you may want to consider speaking to a trained Christian counselor who can help you to put the ideas in this article into practice in your life.
“Bubbles,” 20140525-DSC_8864.jpg, by LifeWithZeus, morguefile.com; “Dandelion,” DSCN2525.jpg by pippalou, morguefile.com