Psychologists will tell you that worry is intended to protect us from fear. However, God did not intend for us to dwell on it or to let it consume us. When it stays at the forefront of my thoughts, it causes me to run scenarios over and over in my mind of things that will probably never happen. It keeps me up at night, drains my energy and robs me of peace. In a way, worry can be addictive. It can feel like if we’re not worrying about something, we don’t care enough. Thinking that way can cause us to get caught in a loop that feel impossible to break, but we must break it. We must learn to let it go and displace it with proper thoughts.
I love the way the Message unifies this passage of Scripture on worry. Philippians 4:6-9 says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
Worry often is a sign of a lack of trust in Christ to work things out. Worry takes control of the situation and puts it in our hands. When we pray instead, we give it back to God where it belongs. Then we need to replace it in our mind with productive thoughts so we can get back to living the way God called us to. Worry isn’t just a harmless feeling. It has the power to disrupt how we’re supposed to live and trust in God. If you’re overwhelmed with worry today, begin to pray so you can hand those things and situations over to God. Verbalize that you’re giving them to Him and are trusting Him with the things you can’t control. Any time worry tries to make itself at home in your mind, remind it that you aren’t in control, but God is. Don’t let it take roots again. Fill your mind with praise, God’s promises and the things listed in Philippians 4:8.