As much as we would like to avoid worry and anxiety, these feelings are just a normal part of our natural emotions. When I say "normal," I'm referring to the everyday aggravations and frustrations that are a part of this journey.
Some people seem to be more controlled by these feelings than others, but we will all have our share of difficult times. I've thought about whether the world we live in today is more hectic and stressful than the times of our parents and grandparents, but is it the external circumstances that cause a person to be overwhelmed or the lack of internal peace?
Even though the situations are different, apprehension and panic would be the same for a caveman or a business executive. However, I'm also convinced that Christ never intended for us to be constantly stressed out to the point of living in discouragement and depression.
There have been many studies about the effects of stress, and it's now confirmed that constant worrying has a negative impact on our mental, physical and emotional well-being. Our Creator is very much aware of how we are "wired," which is why he gives us many Scriptures to help us understand how to deal with stress.
God emphasizes the importance of trusting him throughout the Bible because he knows that when we have faith in his power and ability, we can relax and enjoy the peace of knowing he is in control. One of the most relevant passages about trusting God is found in Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths."
This sounds like a wonderful alternative instead of allowing ourselves to become twisted into knots, but it's not that easy. Since worry comes from our mental imaginations, we must realize that walking in faith will call for us to discipline our mind.
As the above Scripture implies, trusting is a decision. Each person has a choice to ignore the Lord and worry themselves sick or to let it go and give it to God as a way of depending on him to take care of it. If we acknowledge the situation is beyond our ability to change, why would we believe that the One who has all the power in heaven and Earth cannot give us a miracle? The Lord loves us and wants us to bring him our burdens and problems, but we must also believe that he desires the best for our lives.
Worry is the opposite of faith, which means if we are worrying, we are actually hindering this process and becoming our own worst enemy. Once we learn these spiritual principals, we can develop our faith and grow stronger in our confidence and relationship with him.
Another important thing to remember is that we do not need to micromanage God. When we turn our problems over to him, we can rest in peace. We do not need to know how he is going to solve the issue or when he is going to do it. We just need to remind ourselves that he always knows exactly what to do. He wants us to trust in his love while we are waiting for him to accomplish his perfect plan.
I want to leave you with two things to consider as you continue moving forward. Humility is a word that is not very common these days but very important when we are approaching the Almighty. There are many reasons for us to have a humble attitude, and one of them includes the realization that we are weak in our own power and there are times when we just cannot fix our own problems. Be honest with the Lord, tell him you desperately need him and do not be ashamed or embarrassed to come before him in reverence and appreciation.
Another critical component is to guard your conversation against producing negativity. It's much better to not say anything than to talk about how hopeless your situation is. As you pray and share your heart with God, make a personal decision that you are not going to cancel out your faith by making pessimistic comments. A positive confession would include declarations such as, "It doesn't matter what it looks like; I trust and believe God is working on it!"
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and pastor in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Read more at billyhollandministries.com.