by Lisa Leidenfrost
Worry, it seems like just a natural part of us that can’t be helped, or can it? Why do we worry and what is going on? Why don’t we just trust the Lord automatically when the possibility of something hard looms on the horizon? I think it would help to know what is going on when we worry so that we can know what to do when we are tempted.
Worry is like being in a room with ten shut doors facing you. These doors represent all the possibilities of what might happen in the future about a particular situation that consumes you. Since the future is not yours to know, you don’t actually know which door you will walk through eventually. But there will come a time soon when one door will be opened and you will have to walk through it.
In the meantime, the ‘not knowing’ part is very hard, and you decide to go over to take a peek behind the first door which is labeled ‘Worst case scenario door number one’. You try it and it opens, so you walk through that door and down its virtual path, playing out what could happen if you were to later enter this door. You experience in your mind one ‘what if’ after the other. As you do, you become more anxious and even weep at the sad events and final ending of this path. This traumatizes you so much that you rush back to the room and shut that door. You are shaken. How could this possibly happen to you? Maybe it won’t because there are still 9 other doors.
So you creep over to ‘Worst case scenario door number 2’, open it and walk down its path. Again you play out all that could happen with each situation more horrible than the last and in a panic you rush back out that door and shut it as well. Your breathing is heavy and you are in a sweat. You are anything but relaxed and at peace. But will you stop there? No. There are now 8 more doors left, all tantalizing you with their possibilities of your supposed future. Will you leave the future to God? No, and the ‘not knowing’ part is killing you, so you take matters into your own hand and open the rest of the doors, one by one and experience in your mind all their ever increasing stories of gloom and destruction. At the end you are exhausted. Because of opening all those doors, you are now an anxiety ridden individual and no more the wiser in knowing what will actually be coming to you.
So, why do you do this to yourself?
You may reason, “Well, I need to be mentally prepared for any scenario that might happen, so I might as well know my options.” But what good has all this done you? By the time you reach the tenth door you are thoroughly exhausted and worn out. You hardly have any more strength to deal with the true situation when it comes. How can you fight the real battle if you have already worn yourself out by fighting the imaginary ones?
So, what has happened? Why are you worn out?
When you walked through those doors, God was not with you, because He only gives grace and strength for real situations, not imaginary ones. You were doing all that on your own strength. None of those paths were real, they were only imagined since the future is not yours but God’s.
When you are in the room of the present, you can ask yourself, “Right here, in this room, has God taken care of me up to this point?” The answer will be ‘yes’. You are ok, right now in the present with Him. But, what about those doors? Which one will you go through? When the future becomes the present, God will open a door and it could even be a new one that you hadn’t counted on. He will take your hand and walk through that door with you and you will be given all the strength and grace you need to walk that path with Him one step at a time. He promises that. It will be manageable because you will not be alone. You were not ok before because you were walking those paths alone since God does not walk down imaginary paths, only real ones. He promises: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb.13:5
But you might ask, what about planning for the future? There is a difference between planning and worry. In planning you look up to God, asking Him what you can do since He sees and you don’t. You present things to Him, and in doing so shift the burden of what could happen onto His shoulders. You then thank Him for taking it, and you now wait for an answer. He will guide you with wisdom in how to prepare and you will give Him your confidence in return. In all this, you are always looking up, and not down the sideways paths that you were never meant to travel. The one is preparation, the other is worry. You will know the difference by whether you feel peace or anxiety, whether your burden is heavy or light.
Remember, God gives grace for what is real. The present is your sphere of responsibility, and in it you will hold His hand. This makes your burden very light. The future is God’s. He has it under control. That heavy burden is now on Him.
So the solution to worry is “Keep your hands off those door knobs and look up.”
Ps 37:23 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
Math 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light.”
Phil 4:6,7 “Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.
Rom 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Rom 8:37 “Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”