I like to worry.
In fact, when I have nothing to worry about, I get worried. And like clockwork my fruitful imagination conjures up a awesomely terrifying possibility to fill the void.
Worry comes naturally to some more than others. I seem to have a gift for it. I may be a worry prodigy.
There are some genuinely scary things in this world (some of them are running for office right now), and I’ve had some good friends remind me that there are serious disorders out there – PTSD, clinical depression, those that have been devastated by horrific trauma – that are above simple platitudes and Facebook meme solutions. But for the rest of us who just like to keep a good fear or two in our back pocket for immediate access, here are 3 simple steps that just might help you shed the worry-bug.
When you start to worry:
- Pause. Fear and worry multiply faster than rabbits. When your mind starts to race with fearful future possibilities, the first step is to press the pause button. The longer the fear-story plays, the scarier it gets. Fear is a master storyteller, but we don’t have to help write the script. First step: press pause.
- Remember. Part of worship is remembering. In fact, much of our sin is rooted in forgetting who God is and what He has done (ask the Israelites who roamed the desert for 40 years after they forgot God’s presence and provision in rescuing them from Egypt). We obsess over our “unknown future,” because we don’t know if God will do things the way we want them done. It’s self-obsession and control. We may not know what He WILL DO, but we can see what he HAS DONE – in our individual lives, but also in the ultimate finished work of Jesus.
“But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.”
Remembering is a powerful practice.
- Worship. Let these memories fuel your worship. Take time to elevate God to His rightful place. As Pastor Jack Miller says, “Praise is a form of sanity where you suspend thoughts of the future and dwell in the eternal now, lifting up God as the center.” And when we do, His presence draws near! Here’s a little secret, we don’t fight fear and worry, we DROWN them in God’s presence. God never promised us a life free of difficulty (in fact, he promised quite the opposite), but He did promise to never leave or forsake us. He promised to be with us, even in the valley of the shadow of death.
Sure, the future may be scary. The unknowns might be ugly. What is yet to be written might not unfold according to our script. But God is good, and He promised to always be with me if I’ll only let Him. He promised that ALL THINGS would work together for the good of those who love HIm. That’s a pretty good bet if you ask me.
Pause. Remember. Worship.
Drown it, don’t fight it. This is a powerful strategy for worry-warts like me to embrace the unknown future.