I read once that a worried mother can do more research and find more answers than the FBI. And I have to admit, I think it’s true. We become mamas on a mission, determined to do all we can to help our children succeed, and any area where they are struggling is cause for concern.
Why We Need to Release Worry:
The word worry is derived from a word that means to “strangle or choke.” Its definition is to “give way to anxiety or unease, to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or troubles.” Worry doesn’t help us get anywhere, but it sure can stop us from being productive and trusting God.
Jesus told a parable about a sower spreading seed in Mark 4. The sower represents God, and the seed is the word of God, His promises and truths. There were a group of people who never really received the word. There were others who heard the word, but didn’t really rely on the word and they died. There are others who “hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop-thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown,” (Mark 4:20). But the seed we’re interested in is the third type of seed, those who “like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful,” (Mark 4:18-19).
Oh, how often I find myself that third type of seed. I love God, I raise my hands to Him in praise and surrender on Sundays and during Bible studies, but when I come across a circumstance that seems overwhelming, well then cue the thorns. While I may not necessarily be choked by the desire for more things and wealth, in my childrens’ lives I can be. I find myself comparing my kids to other kids and letting that fuel my worry and anxiety and jealousy, and wishing my kids could do things as effortlessly as other kids can.
Seeking God with our Worries
There’s a passage I’m sure you’ve read before. You may even have it memorized. But we’re going to look at it with fresh eyes. Take it piece by piece. And make it applicable to our lives.
Philippians 4:4 says “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say, rejoice.” Well, if Paul had to say it twice, it must be important but also something we need to be reminded of often because it’s challenging to do. But if we are rejoicing in the Lord, we are focused on the good things, the blessings in our lives, and God, rather than the challenging circumstances in our lives. Like Peter, who was able to walk on water until he took his eyes off of Jesus and became fearful of the waves and began to sink, so we too must be focused on God, His blessings and His will for our lives.
Philippians 4:5, says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” I’ve found that when we get anxious and fearful, we get irritable and demanding. The disciples were terrified they would drown in the storm and demanded that He care about the situation. But Jesus was near the entire time. And He was disappointed that they didn’t trust that He would help them through the storm. When we are fearful and anxious, that is all the more reason to seek God, and we are oh so likely to find His peace and comfort and protection then.
Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This is not just an encouragement to not be anxious. We are commanded to not be anxious. Because we have God on our side. He is there for us. He doesn’t want us to be fearful and anxious. He wants us to trust Him. Just like we encourage our kids to not worry, that everything will be ok, that there will be some kind of prize after something hard they have to go through, etc. We want our kids to turn to us when they are afraid, and we want to offer them comfort and reassurance.
And just in case you missed the verse about rejoicing in the Lord twice, we are told to pray with thanksgiving. I used to overlook the praying with thanksgiving part. I mean, I understand why we are to be thankful for all of our blessings, and to thank God for them. But I didn’t understand why we should be thankful when we are presenting our concerns to Him. He hasn’t answered it yet, so there’s nothing to be thankful for, right?
Wrong. There’s a lot to be thankful for when praying your concerns. For example, when I was worried about whether or not I should homeschool our son, I decided to pray in thanksgiving, thanking God for my son, for the freedom we had in our country to homeschool, and for God’s presence in our lives. And though I didn’t get an answer about homeschooling right away like I wanted, I felt a peace I hadn’t in a long time, an opportunity to just enjoy my children more. And in doing so, it became clear to me God’s answer. It wasn’t like a voice telling me what to do. Just a peace as I played with and taught my children, that I could indeed homeschool my children. That He would give me strength. But that what my child needed was to grow in social skills and language. That he was getting that from his preschool more than he was from me. And how much more would he get it in Kindergarten? And right now, we are watching him thrive and flourish and bloom like never before. 🙂
Philippians 4:7 says [present your requests to God] “and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I love how this passage is worded in the Message version. “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.” Ah, beautiful, isnt it? Letting praise and thanksgiving “shape your worries into prayers.”
Casting/Releasing Our Worries
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let you fall.”
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
To cast means “To throw forcefully in a specified direction.” It means we no longer have control of it. It now belongs to whoever is nearest it, or catches it, in this case, God.
How do you cast your anxieties and worries to God? The secret is actually contained in the verse before what we just read. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” (1 Peter 5:6)
To be humble means to think of yourself as less important than someone else. It means to view God as bigger than your own will, desires, plans. To relinquish control of your life and that of your children, and to trust Him. To recognize when we’re not trusting him and releasing our worry. By entrusting it to God. And praying with thanksgiving, because we know our God is faithful.
There are a lot of verses throughout Scripture that we could read about not worrying, because there are so many assurances throughout Scripture that God is for us, that He wants to hear from us, that He wants us to experience peace and victory. Cling to that truth. Keep casting your worries and keep clinging to His love and peace.
If you are struggling with worry and anxiety, I HIGHLY recommend the book Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment (aff link) by Linda Dillow. It is awesome and changed my life, my perspective, and my anxious heart. 🙂