Can Worry Add To Your Life?

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Of all the questions Jesus asked, the question we’re focussing on today is one I find particularly difficult, which is why I wanted to include it in this series.

The problem with words, even Jesus’ words, is that the way we receive them is influenced by our own experiences and perceptions.  This means that even good and well-intentioned words can be difficult to receive or sometimes even damaging.

Today we come to the question: “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Luke 12:25 NLT)

As a child I struggled a lot with worry and anxiety, and especially a fear of death.  I remember this verse being quoted to me a few times and I hated it.  I knew it was being said out of concern, to try to get me to stop worrying, but honestly, what I really heard when this question was asked is “Your worries are stupid.”

No matter how irrational it seemed, I couldn’t stop worrying.  I hated it and I wanted to stop, but the feelings were so overwhelming that logic was never going to win.

This question did nothing to ease my worries.  It only made me feel that they were stupid and shameful and something I had to keep to myself because no-one wanted to hear.

So I come to this question with baggage, but I do want to press in and discover what Jesus was really saying when he spoke these words.

They come in the middle of a long speech which takes up the whole of Luke 12.  He is teaching his disciples, and the overall focus of the passage is living with an eternal perspective rather than focussing on the here-and-now.

If we look at what Jesus says about worry, he certainly tells his disciples that they don’t need to worry and there is no reason for it, but he does more than that.

He points them to examples from nature, which provide evidence of God’s loving care, and he reassures them that they are far more valuable to God than the birds or the flowers.

sparrow   raven

lilies

I love that Jesus reinforces this three times.  Maybe the disciples needed to hear it again and again, as I did, and still do, but Jesus is patient and reassuring.  There is no sense of frustration with their worries, just a longing for them to really understand how much God cares for them.

Later in the New Testament, John writes that, “Perfect love expels all fear.”  (1 John 4:18 NLT)

It is not logic or criticism or shame that defeats our worries, but grasping Jesus’ perfect love and allowing it to transform us, and it’s a process, not something instantaneous.

It is not logic or criticism or shame that defeats our worries, but grasping Jesus’ perfect love.  (Click to tweet.)

In the meantime, because he cares for us, God doesn’t want us to ignore our worries or bottle them up.  He wants us to bring them to him and to be honest: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”  (1 Peter 5:7)

While our worries might seem irrational to other people and even to ourselves, they come from somewhere and there is a reason for them.  For years, I berated myself for worrying, thinking there was something wrong with me and I needed to try harder to stop it, but then I went to counselling and realised that the feelings I had as a child were not really irrational at all.

Certainly my fear of death was not because that was likely to become a reality, but looking at the bigger picture of my life at the time it makes a lot of sense that I felt that way.  Instead of burying the feelings and trying to control them, I needed to acknowledge them and process them, and Jesus allows us to do that.

He calls us to come as we are: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

He doesn’t call us to deal with our burdens ourselves before we come to him, but to come with them and, when we do, he doesn’t condemn us for carrying them.  He takes them from us and gives us rest.

I would love to tell you that worry and anxiety are no longer issues for me, but I’d be lying.  This is not a past issue which has been completely resolved, but an ongoing journey.  I have made a lot of progress but there are still times when worry grips me and sucks me into its downwards spiral.

I am learning to give myself grace though.  All of us have areas where we are weak and vulnerable.  This is one of mine; yours may be different, but we are all works in progress, gradually being restored into the beautiful masterpieces God created us to be.

As I learn to accept God’s perfect love more and more, the fear loosens its grip little by little.  As I see feelings of anxiety not as something bad in themselves, but as indicators of where there is still healing to be done, I can come out of hiding and hand them over to God.

And it’s from that place of security in God’s love, and the knowledge that he does not condemn me for my feelings, that I am more ready to think logically, to deal with the question, and to receive the truth that if God is in charge, there really is no reason to worry.

Can Your Worries

This is part 5 of a series reflecting on questions Jesus asked.  Click to read the other posts:
What Do You Want Me To Do For You?
Do You Want To Get Well?
How Much Bread Do You Have?
Who Touched My Robe?
 

Embracing Every Day  “God-Sized  Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com             

    

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53 thoughts on “Can Worry Add To Your Life?

  1. I love the examples God gives us in His wonderful creation that teach us day in and day out not to worry. It He cares so much about the lilies of the field and the sparrows – how much more will He care and take care of us. It’s not my logic that drives out worry, but grasping Jesus’ perfect love is what transforms me – love this!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great encouragement here. This morning my blog is taking a HUGE leap of faith and I’ve been battling constant worry. But I need to remember to surrender to the Lord. He will provide and He is good! Thank you for this message today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Nicole. I think it’s often when we’re stepping out in faith that the worry can creep in and try to derail us. It’s so important to focus on God’s love and faithfulness.

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  3. In this world of worry, Jesus’ question rings truth to my ears, especially since I just finished reading Dr. Winfred Neely’s How to Overcome Worry. I’ll be reviewing it soon on the blog, and it has me really thinking about the topic of worry, so your post is timely!

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  4. Thank you for this very encouraging reminder that our worries are not trivial things to God, but that he longs to take them for us so that we aren’t burdened by them. Something I’m still working on too. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Anna. I’m glad you were encouraged, and I love that God can bring good even out of our difficulties and weaknesses by working through them to help others.

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  5. I’m sorry you had that thrown at you when you were young, Lesley. I love how you show here the compassion Jesus shows at our worrying. It’s amazing how He patiently points out three examples from nature to gently remind us how much He cares. I so second this – “It is not logic or criticism or shame that defeats our worries, but grasping Jesus’ perfect love and allowing it to transform us, and it’s a process, not something instantaneous.” Love and hugs!

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  6. Thank you for this post, Lesley. I, too, struggle in this area, and it has revealed so many underlying things to me. I so appreciate you bringing out the fact that Jesus does not condemn us for worrying, but He takes that load from us when we come to Him. He is a gracious Lord, and I have never loved Him more.

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    1. I’m sorry you struggle with this too, Cheryl. It can be easy for feelings of condemnation to come in but it’s so reassuring to remember that Jesus is patient and compassionate when we worry.

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  7. Hi Lesley, Thankful for this series you are doing.
    The Lord shows us how worry ducks life away. It doesn’t help!
    It may lead to unhappiness and depression. It is important to guide our thoughts even when things are tough.
    grateful for your testimony.
    God bless you, sister

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hey there, Lesley. What a GREAT series. Questions Jesus asked. I love that idea. Thanks for your encouragement today. God has spoken to me quite a bit this past year through this passage, and in particular through that question. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” We must be on the same wavelength today because I wrote also about WORRY! 🙂 Grace on your week, friend.

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    1. Thanks, Betsy. I’m glad it encouraged you, and thanks for the wisdom you share in your post too. I think worry is something a lot of us find difficult. Hope you have a good week too.

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  9. This is a fantastic post. I love that you make a point of saying that it’s not an immediate process, giving our worries over to God. It truly is a daily growth process. A habit, for sure. Happy Tuesday!
    #RaRaLinkup!
    Megs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Megs. It definitely is a process. It’s not easy to break the worry habit and cultivate the habit of trusting but as we know God’s love more and more we can get there, one step at a time. Happy Tuesday to you too!

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  10. I wish I could say I don’t get sucked in by worry but I wouldn’t be telling the truth. I have moments where worry becomes bigger than it needs to be because I buy into the voice that tells me I can’t, or you won’t or whatever else it is saying.

    I, too, have gotten better at letting worry consume me but it is only by the grace of God. He is gracious to lead me back to Him over and over again.

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  11. Oh Lesley … I’m so glad you addressed this particular question today. The season I find myself in these days is one that has me casting my cares on Jesus quite often … seeking the rest that only trusting in Him can bring. I love how you’ve come to see “feelings of anxiety not as something bad in themselves, but as indicators of where there is still healing to be done.” I am learning that very thing myself, and I’m so glad that God’s love and faithfulness supersede any bad feelings we may be experiencing, no matter what has caused them.

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    1. Thanks, Lois. I’m sorry you’re struggling with worries just now. Praying for you today that you know God’s perfect love more as you continue to cast your worries onto him. I’m also glad that God’s love and faithfulness are greater.

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  12. Lesley, I really loved this post. I, too, felt condemnation for being a worrier when I was younger. I like the truth that Jesus knows. He wants us to come to Him with our worries. He doesn’t tell us to “get over it.” There are some things we just can’t do on our own. Knowing that He is ready to help us with those things that keep us awake at night or swirl around in our minds all day is reassuring. I’m like you . . . still learning how to give all my cares to Him on a consistent basis.

    Thanks for your transparency in this post, Lesley!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. When worry has become a habit it does take a long time to unlearn that and be consistent in handing things over to God instead but I love his patience through the whole process and that he cares about our worries.

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  13. Hi Lesley! I think many of us struggle with anxiety and worry, and your comments to this post show that. Jesus knew that we would fall into that pit, and so he leaves us with his eternal word to trust in him, not ourselves. What a challenge that is!
    Every day I have to ask the Lord to take my thoughts and turn them to the joy of his view of my life, not my own. I see so narrowly…he can see it all.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  14. Amen to this. Although I find myself worrying from time to time (I think women are more wired for that), I hold on to His promises in the Bible. And I remind myself that worrying is not of the Lord’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lesley,
    What a beautiful post on being honest with ourselves and giving ourselves the grace we need and processing the fears and giving them to God (easier said than done, isn’t it?!) I worry about a lot of things too, that seem trivial yet are overwhelming to me, but God gives me what I need to meet those concerns at the time I need not and usually not before. It’s a work in progress but I appreciated your words! xo

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  16. Lesley, you’ve said a lot here, and so much of it has ministered to my heart. I have similar struggles, much of it has to do with my kids and them surrendering their lives to Christ. The trust vs. fear battle is real! You’ve really applied a healing balm to this mother’s heart today. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

    Your neighbor over at Coffee for your Heart,
    Tiffiney
    WelcomeHomeMinistry.com

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lesley,

    What a wonderful post on worry. Recently I did a series and a talk on worry. Funny thing was I intended to give it from the perspective of someone that doesn’t worry. I was so wrong. We all worry and can benefit from learning techniques to lessen the worry.

    I am so glad you have made progress in this area. We are ll works of progress.

    Maree

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  18. Lesley, this is one of my favorites you’ve written. Saving it! There are so many points here that stand out to me- that we deal with it with Jesus, that He isn’t condemning or frustrated with our worries but wants to really understand God’s love for us…so much relief, freedom, and grace in this. Thanks for working through it here to share!!

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  19. I can be a worrier at times. I am so grateful that He doesn’t expect us to carry our burdens alone. He comes alongside of us and carries them for us and gives us His rest. Wonderful reminder this morning to give Him everything that concerns me. Blessings!

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  20. That transforming part is the key, isn’t it? When we allow our hearts to be open to being transformed by the knowledge of His love, that’s where the healing lives, isn’t it? I appreciate your thoughts on using those fearful feelings, not as points of discouragement, but as indicators of where healing’s still in process. Good perspective, Lesley. Thank you for sharing — from a fellow worrier. ((xoxo))

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