There are so many things we could worry about! And if or when you become a mother, the number seems to increase exponentially. Here are a few things that have helped me become better at laying my worries at the feet of Jesus, and some Biblical answers to anxiety.
Truth #1 – Worry doesn’t equal love
One night my husband went to pick up someone from the airport in a snowstorm. I debated whether or not I should wait up or not. I felt selfish if I went to bed. If I really loved him, shouldn’t I wait up and be worried and anxiously waiting? I was feeling pressure to worry! And a lightbulb went off as God spoke to my heart, “Love doesn’t equal worry.”
I realized that if I prayed for Shawn’s safety, and believed that God cared about both of us, I could sleep in peace. It was that simple.
Somewhere we’ve been taught that worry is just what moms do. Because we love, we worry. And somehow along with that we begin to believe that more love equals more worry. Wrap your head around that for a minute.
What if love doesn’t really equal worry? And what if more love, doesn’t equal more worry? That’s what the Bible seems to say. “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18a (CSB)
Since my experience with the snow storm, I’ve often been reminded that love doesn’t equal worry. There can be a lot of pressure to worry in order to fit in! Often, we parade our worries before others. Not for the purpose of unburdening our load, but rather to compare our capacity to love. We try to one up each other in the worry department. Don’t take that bait! I’ve had people debate me that worry is a natural byproduct of love, but I believe it doesn’t have to be the case for people of faith.
If you’re a Christian parent, consider what your worry is demonstrating. Rather than teaching your child that your love is very big, you may instead be teaching that your God is very small.
Truth #2 – Borrowed worry is especially unproductive
Shawn and I have come up with a term that we call “borrowing worry.” “Borrowing worry” is when you worry about the future implications of something that may not even happen. It’s like the second tier of worrying. You know, like you’re borrowing the worry of the future to think about today. An example would be worrying about all the ramifications of a new job that you haven’t even applied for yet. Should you really be paralyzed by the possibilities? Like which moving truck company to hire? And how to kennel the pets for house showings? Just apply for the job! Yes, planning ahead is smart. But could you be spending your time and energy elsewhere?
More Biblical answers to anxiety are found in Matthew 6. Rather than waste our time worrying about self-preservation, we can work toward advancing the kingdom of God. Or, in other words, live like he is our provider and welcome others into a spiritual kingdom ruled by God’s love and law.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34.
It’s really hard not to borrow worry as a parent. I think it’s natural for many of us to imagine the worst possible scenarios for choices that our children make. It feels like a way to protect ourselves and our children from pain. Like our worry can be justified as careful planning that will protect us and our children.
“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27
Again, I think planning is good, but worrying is pointless. Sheer worry accomplishes nothing of lasting value. What we’re really grasping for is control to manage the safety of our family. And no amount of worry can guarantee safety. Leave your safety management to the One who actually has the power to protect you.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3: 5-6
While working on this post, I read this from “Live in Grace, Walk in Love” by Bob Goff. “We’ve all faced the choice between hope and fear. Whether it’s questions about what exactly will happen when we pass away or uncertainty about whether we’ll find love in our lives down the road, we’ve had to face the unknown. But when we stand at this intersection, fear tries to shrivel our hearts and shrinks us down. Hope is the opposite, though – it swells our hearts and makes us expand. Hope restores the life fear tries to steal. Yesterday already happened and tomorrow isn’t here yet. We only have today.”
Truth #3 – God’s peace comes when we trust in him
Finally, I practice casting my cares on the Lord. What do I mean by that?
Simply that I think about what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling, and when I see worry in my heart or mind, I decide to talk to Jesus about it. And I talk to him first. I make sure that I spend time in the morning, laying out all the things I think could be possible difficulties, and I tell them to the Lord in prayer. I really take time to think about things and talk about them with God, rather than assuming that they are insignificant problems that I can deal with personally. Even if they really are little things. Because otherwise, my brain will worry and work on the solution all day.
Instead of carrying the worry, I give it to Jesus to carry because he is better equipped. I find more peace and joy by trusting that God will provide all the answers I need. And he speaks the solutions to my heart, giving me great ideas right when I need them!
Every answer found in Christ
So basically, my struggle with worry is answered in trusting Jesus. That may sound like a very glib answer to you. You may be thinking that will never work for me. Believe me, I’m not saying that trusting is easy. We are not creatures that blindly trust nor should we be. Trust is always earned in a relationship. And I’ve been talking with God long enough that I have personally experienced that he is trustworthy. Which is why I can just hand over the most precious people, the most confusing situations, my personal pain and soul sickness to Jesus, and trust that he will carry my burdens with me and for me.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
Also consider the fact that God has all the power, all the knowledge, all the love (basically, all the resources!) and he wants to share them with his children. For more on that jump over to my article “God Doesn’t Outsource.”
And even so, there are many times where I feel like I know how to solve a problem better than God does. If God would just set situations up like I would and take my advice, we’d be done with the difficulty. But I have to remember that the God of the universe probably has a better perspective than I do. Sometimes I’m too proud to admit that.
Begin with prayer
Trusting can be hard. But do you know what is easy?
It takes almost no effort to whisper a prayer to Jesus about your worries and burdens. Try it and see if your perspective doesn’t begin to change.
In conclusion, I’d like to explain that I am not a licensced counselor. I have nothing against medication. I believe that God created the human body including the brain, and he has given us wisdom and creativity to learn how to help ourselves through medicine. I’m simply sharing my personal story and the Biblical answers to anxiety that have helped me have a better perspective. I believe that true hope and full life is found in Christ. Medicine is only a partial answer, and I believe any medical professional would agree.
If you’ve found my perspective helpful, be sure to leave some love in the comments and share with a friend!