SOMETIMES I WORRY

https://rhm.podbean.com/e/sometimes-i-worry/

Today, let’s look at “worry”

“But what if…”

Pastors and Church leaders are suppose to exercise unwavering faith

No matter how circumstances might appear – pastors should rest confidently in the faithfulness of God

As men and women of faith they should not worry or ever be anxious

When everyone else struggles with worry and the resulting anxiety, the fearless leader is expected to step in with just the right faith-filled words

That’s what we are taught in seminary … and that’s what most Christians think, believe, and expect from their leaders

That’s why when a pastor or Christian leader falls into sin everyone is shocked and dismayed

Yet, when someone at work or in the neighbourhood falls into sin – well, its just being human … I mean, what did you expect 

You expect pastor and a Christian leader to be fearless and faith-filled and not one who worries or is anxious or concerned … not like regular people

It has never worked that way for me

I was never cut out to be “Super-Priest” or “Super-Pastor” or “Super-Apostle”

I have often found myself worrying over things and no longer trusting God as I should

I hear myself saying … “But, what if…”

Anxiety – over the edge concern – paralysis by analysis – panic attacks

Of course, all this simply and quickly leads to guilt because I know I should just believe!

But never mind the super-pastors…

For most believers who have faith in God it is the same

Christians are expected to have great faith in a great God 

Worrying isn’t suppose to be part of our lives

We should not find ourselves thinking (or saying) “But, what if…”

We feel ashamed when we do – and even feel guilty

We feel like we are absolute spiritual failures

Let’s just admit it – Christian leaders and believers alike WORRY MOST OF THE TIME

“But, what if…” can be a part of our every day life

We worry about:

      • Big things
      • Small things
      • Important things
      • Silly things
      • Stupid things

Since God gives spiritual gifts

 

Maybe His enemy gives spiritual curses 

Worry can be one of our curses

We worry, worry, worry … hating every minute of it. But continue worrying

“But, what if…”

You may be like me, maybe not. But…

        • People do worry about the worldwide pandemic 
        • People worry about the economy – especially now with COVID-19
        • People worry about their health or the health of a loved one
        • People worry about money
        • People worry about their kids – their aging parents
        • People worry about terrorism

People worry!

If you don’t like the word “worry” then use “are concerned”

People are concerned

But if you were honest – it is ‘worry’

Even when all is well we tend to worry about what bad thing is going to happen next

“But, what if…”

Now, some of the things we worry about – we are responsible to do something about 

We need to take action because we can change the situation

But, how do we stop worrying about the things we can’t change

The things that are out of our control!

The experts tell us that 95% of what happens in life is out of our control … so we need to focus on the 5% we can change

But the worry comes when we focus on the things we can’t change… the 95%

“But, what if…”

Some might argueWhat’s the big deal, anyways? Everyone worries. It’s a part of life. Accept it.

But, I am learning to refuse to accept worry

Because it is a big deal

Not only does it not do any good – it actually does a lot of harm

It hurts our bodies

It hurts our relationships

It hurts our faith

Worry is a problem … it  might even be consider a sin

Because, really “worry” can be seen as “distrusting (not trusting) the promises and power of God”

When I worry, I’m telling God by my actions and attitude that I don’t trust Him

“But, what if…”

Even though I claim to believe He is all-powerful, ever-present, and all-knowing, when I worry, I’m saying I don’t think He can handle what’s bothering me

That situation

This concern

These circumstances

Those relationships

That must be a real insult to my heavenly Father’s heart – and I don’t like insulting Him!

Unchecked worry will have nothing but detrimental effects in your life

If you worry about your spouse cheating on you

Your very attitude is almost certain to cause conflict in your marriage

If you worry about your kids’ safety

It may hurt your own health

If you’re consumed with worry about your future

You may miss out on living today

Most of all…

If you continue to live gripped by worry

You’ll miss the adventure of knowing and trusting God’s goodness

God wants us to trust Him because as our faith expands, worry shrinks

My faith grows when I internalize His truth

When I apply the truth of His Word, rather than giving in to anxiety and worry

When I am in His Word – applying truths to my daily life – my faith is growing and then I live more and more in the “peace that passes all understanding (John 14:27)

When I don’t dwell in His Word then I live paralyzed by worry and fear

I am overcome by all the many “But, What ifs…” that flood my heart and mind

The first thing God taught me is to take my mind off the “But, what if…” of worry

For years I played the “But, what if…” game

The rules are simple for the “But What If” game…:

      • Rule #1: You’re only allowed to think of worse-case scenarios
      • Rule #2: You’re never allowed to win this game. You can only lose
      • Rule #3: The more you play, the greater your losses

Here are a few excerpts from my own game of “But, what if …” from over the years:

        • What is something bad happens to one of my kids?
        • What if our house catches on fire?
        • What if my ministry comes to an end and there is no income?
        • What if I die before I’m 56 like most of the other males in my family?
        • What is I get cancer?
        • What if someone I love gets cancer?
        • What if what I am doing doesn’t work?

I had to make up my mind not to focus on the fearful “But, what if…”

I had to work at it daily …

Every time I became anxious, worried, fearful I reminded myself that God is in control and He is on my side

That I could totally trust Him

What’s weird to me is that my “But, what if…” always seem to be negative

I rarely ask: “But what if” something great happens?

In Luke, chapter 21, Jesus warned His followers and disciples about future hardships

Luke 21:5-15 “And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, I am he!’ and, The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.

He foretold …

          • False prophets
          • Earthquakes
          • Famines
          • Pestilence
          • Wars, rumours of wars

He told His followers they would suffer and be persecuted…

From my perspective, these are things worthy of worry

But not to Jesus

He told them to “…make up your mind not to worry beforehand”

Luke 21:14 “Make up your mind right now not to worry about it” (The Message Version)

I love the way He worded His statement …

“Make up your mind…”

              • Decide ahead of time – right now, this instant 
              • Before anything happens, decide not to worry
              • Don’t dwell on what could go wrong
              • Trust Him
              • Don’t play the “But, what if…” game

STORY: 

I heard about a young woman who was a chronic worrier

She worried about the weather

She worried about her family

She worried when there was nothing to worry about

This worrier had a wise father who finally said to her, “Come over this afternoon, and we’ll sit together for an hour and just worry.”

Without thinking the daughter blurted out, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! Sitting around for an hour worrying won’t do any good.”

Suddenly it dawned on her: She was wasting precious time and energy doing something that obviously didn’t work.

Let’s be honest

Worry never changes anything for good

So, why should we waste our lives doing something so useless?

Jesus even asked the question: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)

IN FACT: Almost every time you see “worry” mentioned in the Bible, it has two words in front of it … Do not

When we worry, we are playing into the plan of our spiritual enemy

The evil one’s tool of fear is meant to distance us from God’s best

Fear and worry are a lot like a scarecrow

What harm can a scarecrow do?

The answer is “none” but the birds don’t know that

And the scarecrow keeps the birds away

You’re smarter than a bird

That’s why the prophet Jeremiah says that some of the enemy’s greatest threats are “like a scarecrow in a melon patch…” (Jeremiah 10:5)

Really no threat at all except that you worry about it and thus it keeps you away from God’s best

Like the scarecrow keeps the birds away from the best corn

Then he refocuses our attention where it belongs:

“No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your Name is mighty in power.” (Jeremiah 10:6)

If the blackbirds ever figured out our strategy, they’d realize that a scarecrow is actually a tip-off to the location of the best corn

So, isn’t it possible that the very fears the enemy tries to plant in your mind are unwitting advertisement for God’s good stuff?

Worry keeps you from God’s best

So, take your mind off the “But, what if…” that grow out of fear and lack of trusting God

We need to learn to take our minds off of the negative possibilities of life

And train ourselves to think about God’s Word – so that we see God’s faithfulness and His promises of…

            • Security
            • Blessing
            • Protection
            • Provision
            • Guidance
            • Wisdom
            • Love
            • Presence
            • Peace

So that we see that there is no need to worry

Once when I was deep into “But, what if…” God said very strongly in my heart … “You know, I got this!”

Remember:

When you are focusing on the “But, what if…” you are not focusing on Him and trusting Him

I wonder how that makes God feel?

What does that do to God’s heart?

I wonder how God feels when we don’t take Him at His Word?

When we distrust His power and His promises

When we worry instead of believing Him

George Mueller said it best:

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”

Think about it:

Worry brings turmoil

Faith beings peace

Worry takes you from God

Faith draws you to God

Worry changes nothing

Faith moves God’s heart and can change everything for the better

Isaiah the prophet said it so powerfully:

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3)

TPT “Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with you; they confidently trust in you.”

So, don’t play the “But, what if…” game // Don’t ‘imagine’ “But what if….”

And then we need to learn how to give our concerns and cares – our “But, what ifs…” – to God and not take them back

Trust me, this is easier said than done

You would not believe the number of times I pray something like, “God, I know You can do all things, so I give this problem to You. I trust You to handle it.” 

Then 5 minutes later, I’m worrying again … thinking, “But, what if…”

 

As believers we have made Jesus Lord of our lives

So, we need to remember that He is in control and we are not

We need to remember that He knows what He is doing even when we have no clue what is really going on or what to do in the situation

So, we need to learn how to genuinely trust the One who is in control

Then we will discover amazing comfort and peace

God never panics

I love that!

Never in history has God said,

“Wow, I didn’t see that coming. What in the galaxy am I going to do now?”

God knows more about what you are worried about than you do

And He is in control – He is Lord!

If you believe this even a little bit – here is a great exercise for you

Find a box – or any other container

Write the words “Trusting God” on it

This becomes your “Trusting God box”

Whenever you begin to think “But, what if…” 

Whenever you are worried about something you can’t change – the 95% of your life

Write your worry on a piece of paper and put it in the box

Once it’s inside the box, it becomes God’s property, His responsibility, not yours

From the moment you give your problem to Him, you’re not allowed to worry about it

Not allowed to think, “But, what if…”

If you want to worry, then you have to go to the box and physically take the concern away from God

And, when you do, you’ll visually and physically act out what’s really happening inside

You are choosing to stop trusting God

FINAL COMMENTS…

We have been talking about focusing on worries that we can’t do anything about

The “But, what ifs…” that rise up in our gut due to fear, anxiety, worry, concern

What about the other worries – the ones where the solution lies at least partially in our hands? (the remaining 5%)

Don’t stop trusting God for these

Don’t stop praying about them

But God has entrusted responsibility to us and He wants us to take it … starting now

Worried about money > Deal with your debt and spending habits … write a budget, save

Worried about your weight > Step away from the ice cream sundae

Worried about watching to much television > Remove the batteries from the remote 

If you can do something about your worries, by all means, do

And do it in God’s wisdom and power

Take action immediately (wait just one minute until I finish the teaching)

HOWEVER, if your worry is completely out of your control…

Stop playing the “But, what if…” game

Read God’s Word and learn the truth about God and how faithful He is

Give your concerns to God – write them down and put them in the box – and don’t take them back

If anyone had reason to worry, it was the apostle Paul

Yet from a Roman prison, awaiting his possible execution, he penned these words:

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.” 

(Philippians 4:6-7 TPT)

In other words, 

Pray about everything

Worry about nothing

Whatever’s on your mind is also on God’s heart

Take it to Him

Then leave it with Him – trust Him

 

He cares

He’s your heavenly Father – a Father like no other on earth

Are you living with worry?

Does it dominate your life?

Consume your waking hours?

Steal your sleep?

“Cast all your anxiety (worry) on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)