Hope for the Worrier

Recently I wrote a requested article on the subject of worry. It caused me no end of worry. 

Worry is my middle name. 

I’ve been put to the test in a crazy worrisome situation in the last few days, so the whole “what happens if” chain of possible events has me looking more closely over my never ending mess of anxiety.  

If you are at all like me, you know Scripture’s teaching about worry, but it often seems slightly beyond reach.    

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

While researching and worrying over my worry article, I found some precious truths I can apply to the situation I’m in right now. The problem of worry has another side to its coin, one that reaffirms a loving Sovereign Father.  

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addressed many subjects. One was worry. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 NIV

In Paul’s “do not be anxious” admonition to the Philippian church he repeated the same original word as the one Jesus used in His Sermon, “do not worry.” 

It appears worry was a common problem for Jesus’ followers as well as the early church. I am guessing I’m not alone with the worry gene so deep inside it is simply second nature, as ever present as breathing. 

A dig into the original Greek word is well worth the time and energy. 

Merimna, is translated in our English Bibles as worry, anxious, concern or care. It means “To be drawn in different directions.” It corresponds to our word “distraction.”  

Peter’s walk on the water is a great example. When Peter’s attention focused on Who he walked towards, despite winds and waves Peter did the impossible. He walked on water.  But when winds and waves drew away his focus from Jesus, fear took over and he began to sink. The very real danger around distracted him. The tempest drew Peter in another direction, one that took his eyes away from Jesus. 

God desires our complete attention.  

Worry, by its very nature fragments us. It distracts us from looking exclusively to Him. Our eyes glance away to the waves of our finances, health, concern for family, and cares of daily life.  

Worry wars with unity in the believer’s soul. We are one with Christ but find ourselves drawn in directions which clash with that union. We are meant to belong to Him heart, mind and soul. He died and rose again to break every barrier. Nothing is meant to separate us. 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 ESV

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Anxieties connected with our earthly lives sever central focus on the God of the Universe, the one who makes water and wind, who allows seasons of tempests into our lives. He is the God to Whom our entire beings belong. His love for us is so consuming we can have no reason big enough ever to take our eyes off of Him.

The fact that I worry has also brought me to realize God continues to care enough to put His finger in the tender spots, on mazes of worry and fear.  Even though my heart thumps like a drum and my thoughts spiral like tumbleweed, His persistence never gives up on me. 

There is hope for worriers like me when we recognize His desire for our hearts and minds. He wants our attention stayed on Him. There is hope in the dumping of care and embracing of a united mind with His.  

And so, even as a child who has known my Father well for many years, I feel His gentle tug on my chin, biding me to look away from worrisome distractions, to turn my eyes fully on Him. He lovingly asks me to leave behind all of the “what if’s.” For He is always worthy of my complete attention. 

I can’t deny I’m impressed by Peter’s walk on water. His distraction teaches me about my own. I see clearly my own looking about, my lack of Jesus focus. I’m aware of my being drawn in different directions. This recognition is the beginning of victory offering me the opportunity to choose trust. 

I’m humbled by Christ’s patience as He calls me to raise my eyes above the waves. I am reminded as He nudges my straying thoughts, of redirecting them to Him. And there is sweet confirmation of His love which never gives up on my learning and growing. Perspective clears when I turn my attention to the One worthy of it. 

Trustworthy through multitudes of waves and billowing winds of life, past, present and future, big tsunamis and small prairie gusts all are in His capable hands. 

*feature Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

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*Feature Photo by Cassidy Dickens on Unsplash

22 Replies

  1. Sue Kroeker Reply

    Right on, Sylvia! Thank you so much! Just what I needed as Ibegin my day!❤️

  2. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Oh, how many times have I allowed worry to drive me to distraction? This week alone, it’s attacked me on several occasions. While I can’t seem to stop it entering my mind, I can choose to stop it from entering my life and taking hold. I do that in two ways. I remind myself that “It’s taking up space in my brain, but it ain’t payin’ no rent.” and I purposely chance my focus from worry and the stress that comes with it into the peace and comfort that comes from spending time with God. Another great post ma’am.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      J.D. What a great thought! “Taking up space in my brain, but it ain’t paying no rent.” I will remember that!

  3. Jan Clements Reply

    Oh Sylvia, I love your insights that are based on the Word. They feed my soul and remind me where my focus should be. Thank you so much dear friend!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Jan. I’m more than honored you read it and appreciated it. Thank you!

  4. Heidi Reply

    Great post! Just what I needed to encourage my daughter through her worry today!

  5. Katherine Pasour Reply

    I confess to possessing the worry gene, too. I love the way you approach your message, keeping our focus on God. “God desires our comple attention,” you remind us. You are right–if we are focused on worry, then we’re not giving our attention to God. I’m still working on this and I’m grateful for your message to keep me on the right pathway of trust, rather than worry.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Katherine, I’m still working on it too! Thanks so much for reading and I’m happy to know we are related!

  6. linda k williamson Reply

    we all worry but I think to myself all shall
    be well! Not my will but thy will!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Yes Linda, it is a path of submission to victory! Thanks so much!

  7. Antonella Reply

    Cara Sylvia, mi scuso con tutti coloro che leggono: il mio inglese non è più sufficiente, quindi scrivo in italiano: Ricordi quel giorno di trent’anni fa, quando ti dissi che mia figlia di tre anni, affidata alla nonna, aveva corso un grosso rischio? Io ero preoccupata per non poter essere sempre vicina a lei a controllarla: tu mi dicesti (ed io in seguito ho sempre tenuto care quelle parole) che non dovevo preoccuparmi, perché Gesù la ama più di me! E’ vero! E’ a Lui che dobbiamo guardare! Nell’episodio di Pietro io vedo anche un altro insegnamento: Pietro si affida, gridando: ” Salvami” ! Dobbiamo riconoscere di avere bisogno di essere salvati!
    Un abbraccio a tutti!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Cara Antonella,
      Grazie tanto per quel ricordo. Mi hai dato una benedizione enorme. Grazie anche per le parole “Dobbiamo riconoscere di avere bisogno di essere salvati.” Si. Si e si. Mi apprezzo molto le tue riflessioni e queste parole. Grazie di aver letto il “post” e per la tua risposta. Spero che stiate bene. Ci sentiamo molto la mancanza dei nostri amici di Italia!

  8. Barbara Latta Reply

    I rely on that Philippians 4 passage a lot. Its o e of my favorites for reminding me to cast my care on Him. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Barbara! I know, it is a great go-to and always new at the same time! Thanks so much for reading and responding.

  9. Katy Kauffman Reply

    I needed to read your post today. Thank you for sharing it. I especially loved this line – “God desires our complete attention.”

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you so much Katy. You are such a kind encourager. Honestly, I needed your encouragement today!

  10. Tammy Kennington Reply

    Just. So. Beautiful. And perfect for a worrier like me. Thank you , Sylvia.

    Peace and grace,

  11. Jeanie Williams Reply

    I re-read this article this morning because I had shared it on my face book page earlier. But this morning I really needed to read it carefully after some sleepless hours (woke up because of pain) and feeling sorry for myself, my mind going in all directions — instead of focusing on my loving Heavenly Father! Thank you so much for reminding me to “Turn my eyes upon Jesus. . .” I think I will print the article to have quick access to it when needed!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Jeanie! I so appreciate it. Love the hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. Had it at our wedding! I’m so sorry you are in pain and do hope you are doing better today!