I collect quotes about worry. Can you identify with these?
"Worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere."
"We have moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic!"
These sayings about worry make me laugh, but the following statements about worry by George Mueller make me think.
"The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety."
"All our fret and worry are caused by calculating without God."
When we worry, we’re saying, “God can’t.” If we are walking in anxiety, we’re not walking in faith. We want to be women of faith, yet often worry becomes our middle name. We know the agony of its clutches. We’re familiar with the small trickle of fear that meanders through our minds until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
We Must Conquer this “God Can’t" Disease
Jesus had much to say about worry in Matthew 6:25–34. In these familiar verses, Jesus tells us five times to stop worrying. I think he wants us to get the message! He labels worry, or anxiety, as a sign of a faith problem. He forbids anxiety and commands us to be women of faith.
Instead of being anxious, we are to fix our focus on God and his righteousness. Verse 34 gives a key to worry-free living; the Living Bible translation makes it crystal clear: “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” Oh, it is true—the load of tomorrow added to that of yesterday, carried today, makes even the strongest woman stumble.
The apostle Peter was a worrier. Walking upon the water toward Jesus, Peter became so worried that he began to sink (Matthew 14:30). He worried about who would betray Jesus; he even rebuked Jesus because he was worried that Jesus might have to suffer. It encourages me that Peter, the worrier, learned how to cast his worries on the Lord. "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you," he says in 1 Peter 5:7. The Phillips translation of this verse is my personal favorite: “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” It is a glorious truth.
We Must Trust God with Today and Tomorrow
F. B. Meyer made this truth plain when he said, “This is the blessed life—not anxious to see far in front, nor eager to choose the path, but quietly following behind the Shepherd, one step at a time. The Shepherd was always out in front of the sheep. He was down in front. Any attack upon them had to take him into account. Now God is down in front. He is in the tomorrows. It is tomorrow that fills us with dread. God is there already. All the tomorrows of our life have to pass him before they can get to us.”
Did you catch what Meyer said? God is already in my tomorrows—in your tomorrows. That’s why we can trust them with him and give him the heavy load. He longs to carry it for us.
I remember so many nights when my four children were teens living in a very difficult environment in Vienna, Austria. I would stay awake worrying about the pressure they were under, about the temptations they daily faced, and then I would remember, “God, you ask me to cast all these anxieties on you . . . and I do that right now. You are already in my children’s tomorrow; you are staying awake tonight praying for them. So thank you, gracious Lord. I’m leaving all these worries on your shoulders and going to sleep.”
Did I always go right to sleep? Of course not. I’m a mom! Sometimes I had to get out of bed and get my Bible and read 1 Peter 5:7 and Matthew 6:25–34 out loud to the Lord and declare that I believed it and that I wanted to stop worrying and grow in trusting him with my children’s tomorrows.
The Woman Who Never Worries
You’ve probably never heard of Titedios Amerimnos, but he is a man I want to emulate. We read of him in an early Greek manuscript of the Christian era. Titedios is his proper given name. However, the second part, Amerimnos, is made up of the Greek word for “worry,” plus the prefix meaning “not” or “never”
In other words, his second name is a descriptive epitaph like the second part of “Alexander the Great” or “James the Just.” It is assumed that Titedios was an anxious man who became a trusting man when he met Christ and stopped worrying. So he was named “Titedios, the man who never worries.”
I long to have my name become, “Linda, the woman who never worries.” It has been many years since I stayed awake worrying, praying, and casting anxieties about my teens. My grandchildren are now teenagers, so I am again on my knees. The apostle Peter learned to cast his anxieties on the Lord, and I’ve been learning too. Maybe by the time I’m a great grandmother, my name will be, “Linda, the woman who never worries!”
Linda Dillow is co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, and co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making? Connect with her on Twitter at @Linda_Dillow.