Growing up I was a bit of a ‘worrywart’. I worried about everything.
Every. Single. Thing.
Whether it was school, my family, my looks, my popularity (or lack thereof), I was a walking ball of nervousness. I was the kid you passed in the hall and thought, “what’s wrong with him”.
As I got older my worrywart ways continued, but for slightly different reasons. Popularity and my appearance weren’t as much of a concern (thank you braces and contacts), but things like college, employment, relationships, and money (or lack thereof) took over as the new things to worry, obsess and overly focus on.
It wasn’t until my thirties that things changed a bit for me. I started to relax. I became content with what I had, or didn’t have. And the pressure to compete seemed to naturally fade away.
But the biggest difference was and will always be – allowing God into my life.
And trusting in Him.
Before you start to think, “oh listen to Alan, all high and mighty. Mr. No Worries”… rest assured – I will always have the worrywart gene pulsating within me, cycling through my blood stream. And! It’s something I will always have to constantly fight against.
And I do.
Worry Changes Nothing
What did you worry about a month ago? Can’t remember? Yeah, me either. But whatever it was, it occupied our thoughts, and our time. And it certainly wasn’t positive.
What worries you right now? Is there anything you need to do about it and reasonably can do about it? If there is, then do it.
If you’re always worried about arriving late to work, then simply do what you can.
Set your alarm clock in the morning. Give yourself enough time to get ready. Get in the car. Go to work. Done.
But if you’re worried about the possibility of your child getting sick and delaying you…or, will there be road construction that makes you late…or, will Hurricane Bouboulé flood the roads, or…
Get the point? Let it go.
Do what you can easily do. Then, occupy your mental and emotional energy with something more productive. More positive.
Prayer Changes Everything
People who worry all the time want to always be in control. And that’s understandable. Who doesn’t want to be in control? But there is only one problem with that.
You can’t control everything. No one can. And in the end, trying to control everything around us is bad for us – and for those around us.
But nevertheless, the worrier will always try to gain control. They have to do something! And when it doesn’t work, they’ll either concoct new ideas to gain control, or obsess over things. Even to the point of despair.
So, what’s the alternative, if you can’t control things?
Well, if something is beyond our control, beyond us changing it for the better…
Because God is in control. If you let Him be. So, try your best not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
For instance, if you have an upcoming meeting at work that you’re stressed about, what are your alternatives?
Properly prepare for it? Check!
Stress that it will go the way you hope?
Obsess about the possibility of the meeting going wrong?
Be a disaster?!
Fired from your job?!!!!!
Just reading this, can you feel the tension? The stress?
And what good does it do you?
Give Your Concerns Over to God
Instead, do something that is incredibly simple: Do what is reasonable to prepare, and let God take care of the rest.
If you do this (with lots of practice), you will experience God’s peace, which is more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and your mind.
Everyone falls into the trap of thinking that they can manage their daily life without any guidance and assistance from God. That includes “yours truly”. I often go about my business without consulting Him. I trust myself alone.
And when this happens, worry and stress always return. But with prayer, trust and help from God, no person, no thing, no event, will ever have control over us. Because God has control of these things. I am learning this too.
Not us. Him.
In all things, simply do the best that you can do, and pray to God for the rest.
Never worry about the things you can’t control. Or the worry will end up controlling you.
Worry changes nothing. Prayer changes everything.
This article originally appeared on Grow in Virtue.