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We might be tempted to think the emotions of fear, worry, and anxiety are truly emotions that come from outside of us…But before we go there, let’s remember that our emotions express our values and evaluations. Our emotions tell us what we really, really believe. Therefore, not even fear, worry, and anxiety can be attributed to something that happens to us.

The Bible leaves us no room for debate. The source of fear, worry, and anxiety is unbelief. The unbelief is specific, spelled out for us by Isaiah and Jesus. When we fail to believe that God is for us, will take care of us, has our future in his hands, and is with us right now, we cave in to fear, worry, or anxiety.

Listen again to the prophet [Isaiah]: “Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me?” Likewise, what is our Lord’s diagnosis of the anxiety shown in Matthew 6:25-34? The answer is, “O you of little faith” (6:30). When we are gripped with anxiety and fear, we are making an evaluation. Our souls are speaking, and our innermost being is expressing what we believe and whom we do not believe.

~Brian Borgman in Feelings and Faith

Photo: OBMonkey

Winning the War Against Worry

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.
It empties today of its strength.”
Corrie Ten Boom
Are you too busy worrying about tomorrow to enjoy what God has done for you today? Elyse Fitzpatrick offers some wise counsel to the worrywarts among us… 
Learn more about this topic in Elyse’s book Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety.

Dropping the Weight of Worry

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:34

If the Proverbs 31 woman had a fan club, I’d want to be its president. As you might guess, I’m a big-time admirer of this noble lady. When I grow up, I want to be her, but I find that some aspects of being her seem more challenging to me than others. Take for example, the fact that she rises while it is still night. Um…yeah, let’s just say I’ve got a long way to go before I resemble the Proverbs 31 woman in that particular area of my life. Nightowls, raccoons, and bats are much closer companions to me than are earlybirds like her. Still yet, I know that I could get better at being an early riser if I really wanted to. But there’s another characteristic of the noble woman that seems much closer to an impossibility for me: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” (Prov. 31:25).

When it comes to the issue of worry, I worry that I’ll never quite measure up to the stature of the virtuous woman. She laughs when she thinks about the future? Ha! I laugh when I think about being able to laugh at the future! Now, crying about what might happen in the future? That I can do, and I do it quite well, I might add. 

Here’s an example of the type of course my sinful mind usually runs: Back when I was struggling greatly with the issue of infertility, I would regularly and frequently cry as I looked ahead to my babyless future. It wasn’t the thought of making it through that particular day without a child that would break my heart, it was the thought of making it as a 72 year-old with no children that would overwhelm me with grief! Instead of obeying Jesus’ command not to worry about tomorrow, I would burden myself with all of my concerns for today, tomorrow, and every day following for the next 40 years. No wonder I was so overcome with sadness!

How much freer and more joyful I could have been if I had chosen to rely in simple faith upon Jesus’ assurance that our Heavenly Father knows and provides for all of our future needs (Matt. 6:30-32). In her book, Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety, Elyse Fitzpatrick elaborates on how trusting our Father’s character is a key to gaining victory in our battle against worry:     

Why is worry unbelief? Because it has its roots in doubt about God’s character. It questions His Fatherly care and provision. When I worry about what’s going to happen to my life, what I’m really saying is, “God, You can’t handle this. You’re either too weak, uninterested, unloving, or not smart enough to take care of my life. I’ve got to devote all my attention to sorting this situation out on my own.”

…When we worry and fret about our perceived needs, we’re forgetting that we have a Father who knows what we really need even before we ask. Of course, there is usually a great difference between what I think I need and God’s perspective. I must humble myself then, conceding to His wisdom, and believe that He knows what’s best for me and that He will give me everything that’s truly necessary for me. Paul tells us in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).

The Father who gave me the most needful and precious gift of all, His Son, will not fail to provide everything I need.

(pp.113, 115)

Jesus: Living Proof that our Heavenly Father will always give us His very best! As we ask God to replace the fear in our hearts with faith in His perfect love, we can experience the freedom that comes when we finally drop the weight of worry.  

If ever a woman had reason to be overcome with worry, Lauren Chandler would certainly be that woman. Since last November, she has lived daily with the knowledge that her husband is suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer. In the following video, as Lauren shares how God has steadied her through this storm, we see a vivid picture of the way our Heavenly Father cares for His own. Her testimony was an inspiration to me, and I hope it will be to you as well.

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Photo: Pawel Kryj