Worry is torment

It is only human to worry. It is understandable, and for many people, it is automatic. I am not writing this post to condemn anyone. I have a long history of worrying and pessimism, and I am still learning how to go to God with the things I would have worried about before.

I do worry far less than I used to, and it is obviously an act of God. I’m not wired to assume the best outcome, and I’ve looked at worry as a way to take action against what I fear. But worry has torn me down, and it hasn’t changed a thing.

In Matthew Chapter 6, verse 27, Jesus says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Another translation says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single cubit to his height?” [NIV Bible]

This Scripture exposes the truth that worrying has no power. Closely related to worrying is the notion that if you prepare (and expect) the worst, you won’t be as disappointed/devastated/taken by surprise if what you fear happens.

Worry is a form of torment. Worry is draining, and it stimulates fear. Worry strips us of strength. And when we do have to face what we fear, we aren’t better equipped to handle it because we worried about it beforehand.

Bring what you’re afraid of to God. To pray is to talk to God. No eloquent words or memorized prayers are necessary. God wants to hear from the real you, in your words.

In 1st Peter, Chapter 5, verse 7, it says: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. [NIV Bible]

As soon as you feel fear about anything, pray right then and there. God already knows what is happening. He is always your closest comrade. Go to Him immediately, tell Him what you are feeling and ask Him to take over. God is faithful, and He will give you peace while your situation unfolds.

This is something that requires practice. Worrying is a hard habit to break, but it’s doable with God. Any time you find yourself worrying, pray right away, ask God to put you into His peace.

Hear these words of God spoken to you: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  [Isaiah Chapter 41, verse 10 NIV Bible]

Taking the high road while the low road is calling your name

In Proverbs Chapter 19, verse 11 it says:

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. [NIV Bible]

This is a Scripture that I come back to again and again. God reminds me of it repeatedly, and it has truly helped me. I don’t know if I was skeptical when I first read this. I might have been, because it definitely falls into the “turn the other cheek” category.

It’s hard not to defend yourself when someone does you wrong. It’s almost automatic to want to punish people who hurt you.

A couple of people offended me in the last week. One was an acquaintance, and one was a stranger. Both were rude, and I felt the hurt like a punch in the gut.

I was mad, and I had the right to be. I considered ways to show my displeasure both times. But the emotional storms passed, and I’m glad I didn’t rise to the bait. If I had, God would have understood, because He understands all of our feelings–anger, disappointment, hurt feelings, the desire for justice.

I didn’t enjoy resisting the urge to forget all about the high road. I almost didn’t do it. But I know I have more peace now than I would have if I had fought back.

There are things worth standing up for, and it’s not wrong to speak on your own behalf. But there are many gray areas in various situations when it can be hard to know how to respond. God will give you His wisdom to help you decide what to do. He did that for me.

Another Scripture guides me as well: In Romans Chapter 12, verses 17-18, it says:  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.[NIV Bible]

I’ve learned something over the years I’ve spent knowing God. When He knows I’ve been wronged, it’s a comfort to me. Other people may not ever realize, admit or apologize for what they do, but God helps heal the anger and hurt inside me.

 

 

God doesn’t judge by appearances

When God looks at you, He sees the real you, the person you are on the inside. He sees your personality, your family and your history. He knows what you fear and what hurts you. He sees the wounds from your past. He knows who you love and who loves you. He knows who you are.

God says plainly what He sees and values in people in 1st Samuel, Chapter 16, verse 6-7. Samuel was a prophet sent by God to anoint a new king over Israel. Under God’s direction, Samuel travels to Bethlehem to meet with Jesse, a man with eight sons. Samuel knows that one of Jesse’s sons will be the next king of Israel, but he doesn’t know which one. Right away Samuel notices one of the sons [named Eliab], who is tall and handsome, and this is where verse 6 begins:

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God isn’t biased by what we look like, how much money we make or the image we project to the world. He doesn’t judge us based on our weight, our titles, or the number of wrinkles we have.

In a critical and competitive world, God beckons us to see what really matters.