What The Bible Says About Worry

We all worry about things, but what does the Bible say about it? Generally speaking, the Bible contains a strong message against worrying. Jesus and the other characters in the Bible provide a powerful reminder that worrying can be debilitating but it can also be conquered by reliance on God.

Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” To that end, Jesus himself encourages us not to worry but to believe in Him and His will. Matthew 6:25-26 reads, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” By highlighting our importance to God, Jesus reminds us of our true value and encourages us to turn our worried thoughts into faith and hope in the Lord.

Pushing back against the common Christian trope of putting a lid on our worries, the Bible offers a variety of examples that demonstrate a more complex relationship with our issues. For instance, Romans 12:12 discusses taking thoughts captive, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Being faithful in prayer demands more than just an acknowledgement of our worries, it requires an active faith. A faith that takes our worries captive, wrestles them with God and whatever answer the Lord provides, we must accept. Additionally, Philippians 4:6-7 encourages us to bring our worries to the Lord in prayer: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This does not mean, however, that we should simply ignore our worries and wait for God’s intervention. In fact, just the opposite is true. Jesus modeled the kind of character strengths and behaviours we can be engaged in while hankering onto faith. Take the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the garden, Jesus demonstrated two qualities simultaneously: faith in God and active worries in his prayer. Jesus pleaded with God, on the grounds of agony, to take away his sufferings. By showing that we can be both worried and faithful, Jesus provided us with a powerful example of how to make sense of the tension between worrying and trusting God.

The Bible also provides a different way to think about our worries – the notion of soul care. In the story of Abraham and Hagar, in Genesis 21, we are presented with a vivid example of what it means to care for the soul. Hagar, who was forgetting to care for her own soul in the midst of distress and worry, was told by God, “Return to the wilderness and live there by God’s presence as He will take care of you” (vv. 13-20). The words of God demonstrated a compassion for Hagar’s suffering and worries, as does Jesus for us, yet in a way that doesn’t allow for lengthy fussing over them.

In conclusion, the Bible provides a powerful and complex message about the dangers of worrying and the ways we can care for our emotions while finding hope and trust in God. Through many stories, Jesus and other scripture remind us to turn our worries into faith in God.

Practical Steps

Once we understand what the Bible has to say about worrying, how do we practically apply it? While many of us may immediately think of prayer and scripture reading, there are also several practical steps we can take to reduce worry and anxiety.

One thing we can do is to evaluate our worry levels. Instead of fighting worry on our own, it can be helpful to enlist the help of a friend, mentor or coach. Talking about worries and apprehensions can help to bring clarity to our thought process, identify areas where we need help and provide accountability. Additionally, instead of pushing our fears away, given voiceless can be therapeutic to our minds and souls.

Moreover, developing strategies to engage with our worries can help us take control and practice self-care. For example, journaling thoughts and feelings can provide both clarity and a way to reflect on our own thoughts, and develop an action plan to get ourselves out of our worries. Keeping a worries diary can also be a way to document our anxious thought patterns.

Finally, utilising mindfulness, an underused tool in dealing with worry, can be beneficial. Becoming mindful of our environment, body and breath can help us to detach from our concerns, be present in the moment and focus on calming images and affirmations.

Dangers of Worrying

What dangers come with ignoring the influence of worry in our lives, then? Undoubtedly, worrying too much can be damaging to our physical and mental health. Studies suggest that prolonged worrying can lead to health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease and poor mental health. In addition, it can interfere with our decision-making, concentration, memory and more.

It can also affect our relationships, productivity and self-esteem. Some of us may be more prone to worrying than others, depending on our life experiences and the environment and community we are in. Feeling like we are alone in our worrisome thought patterns can make it harder for us to reach out and find support, leading to even more worry.

Furthermore, worry can alert us to potential danger, but too much worrying can leave us feeling anxious and weakening our coping mechanisms. This can be especially true for people who experience clinical levels of anxiety or panic attacks. People in these situations should seek professional help.

In sum, worry can be useful to a point, but too much can be detrimental to our physical and psychological health. This is why relying on the words of Jesus and otherscripture in relation to worry is important. It can serve as a reminder that through prayer and actions, we can overcome our worries.

Avoiding Unhealthy Habits

What can we do to stop ourselves from engaging in unhealthy coping mechanisms when we are anxious? Many of us may turn to some form of distraction when we are worried. However, while this might serve as a short-term solution, it can also be a form of avoidance behaviour- where we are avoiding facing our worries head on.

This can often lead to further avoidance behaviours such as overeating, alcohol or drug abuse. It is important to recognise these patterns of behaviour, and work to find healthier coping mechanisms. An important step may be to be honest with ourselves, and note which habits are serving us and which are having a negative impact on our wellbeing.

Incorporating healthy habits can also be beneficial in managing our worries. Eating well, exercising, meditating and spending time in nature can be great ways to nurture our body and mind and distract from our worries temporarily. Since the pandemic began, it has become even more important to prioritise our physical, mental and emotional health. This can be a great starting point in getting our worries under control.

Lean on Community

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, it was not just Jesus, who was struggling with his worries and fears. Peter, James, and John were there too – standing in solidarity with Jesus. This moment serves as an important reminder that although we may feel alone in our worries and anxieties, leaning on those around us can be beneficial.

When we turn to our friends, family and community, it can be comforting and empowering to see that we are not alone. Having people to talk to in order to support and understand our worries, can be immensely beneficial. Our communities can provide us with practical insight, prayer and even just a shoulder to lean on when facing difficult situations.

Additionally, having an increased awareness of our faith and of documents like the Bible can be an invaluable aid in working through worrying. The bible’s teachings of exercising faith, trusting in the Lord and using prayer to turn our worries into request to God can be essential in managing our anxieties.

Relationship with Jesus

Managing our worries is not a simple feat, and it requires work. Jesus himself exhibited this struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is important to remember however, that Jesus’ relationship with His worries is proof that our own struggle can be conquered if we are willing to dive deeper into our relationship with Him.

When we distance ourselves from our worries, we can trust in Jesus to be a companion and imagine Him standing with us in our struggles. This thought can be more powerful than a simple reminder to turn to Him for comfort in moments of distress. Even when we are anxious and lacking in faith, Jesus continues to remain committed to walking with us and supporting our anxious souls.

That being said, it is important to remember that we cannot move ahead without looking back to see the footprints Jesus has already guided us. This can help us to refocus our worries into faith and hope towards trusting in Him. Moving forward, our aim should not be to avoid our worries, but instead to navigate our way through our worries in Light of Jesus’ path.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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