Does worry make you feel good? Are you happy when you worry? Of course it doesn’t make you feel good or happy. Worry is futile. It’s a difficult thing to get rid of, a hard habit to break. I’ve been a chronic worrier for years. I believe part of this stemmed from my mother being a chronic worrier. It was a learned “habit.” I worried about things most people don’t even consider worrisome. Things Mom said and worried about became my worries, something I know she never meant to happen. But nevertheless, I adopted that frame of mind. It didn’t help that I was already a nervous child, never wanting to stray far from my mom. She was my safety net, where I felt at home and protected, so it was scary for me to venture far from her.
As I’ve gotten older, that tendency to worry has become a cripplingly heavy burden. I’ve worried so much that in the times I really had nothing to worry about, I’d worry that I wasn’t worrying. Worry became my constant companion. It was with me when I went to sleep, even sometimes long after I lay my head on the pillow at night, and worry greeted me each morning. Worry serves no purpose and it’s a sin!
For years I was able to just limp along with my propensity to worry. I took it to an art form. I worried about what was happening, what might happen, what might not happen, what could happen but most likely never would, about what I said, what I didn’t say, what I should say, what would we do if… It’s somewhat like an addiction: you just can’t stop.
Worry is harmful to your spirit life. When you’re worrying, you’re not trusting God. He promises to take care of us no matter what and when we’re worrying, we’re trying to fix everything ourselves without relying on Him. This was me. I’d had to rely on only myself for quite sometime and began to fret even more. I felt like only I could fix everything. I wasn’t relying on God and trusting Him to fulfill His promises. I took no steps in faith. I stayed curled up in my ball of fret, depending only on me and my facade of “power”. It was holding me back from receiving so many blessings.
Worry is dangerous to your body as well. It can be damaging. I struggle with Crohn’s disease and worry and stress exacerbate the illness more than almost anything else. Worry and fret literally cause me stomach pain and distress and the result is an increase in other Crohn’s symptoms. Worry has a physical impact on our bodies. Some people can stress and worry so much that it causes their hair to fall out.
Worry is exhausting emotionally but can also cause physical fatigue. It can cause sleep disturbances which result in your body not getting the proper rest it needs to function well. Worry can often result in anxiety which can be prohibitive. Worry and stress increase the cortisol levels in our bodies which can cause us to develop additional (and definitely unwanted!) belly fat. It can also result in many negative responses such as headaches, irritability, muscle aches, stomach aches, tension, sweating, among many other things.
If you’ve been a chronic worrier for decades like I have, it’s difficult to stop. You’ve come to almost rely on worry. It’s comfortable now. You don’t know how it feels not to worry. We’ve somehow come to believe on some level that worrying will help situations, that if we worry enough we may be able to sway the situation to work in the way it needs to. Except the ultimate control here is God. He wants the best for us and worrying is not the best. It’s debilitating and fruitless. It serves no purpose…none!
God tells us straight out “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7 (Biblegateway.com). There’s not a thing confusing about this verse. God straight-up says “Don’t worry about anything!” He makes it abundantly clear that we should let Him handle things. This is something I’ve mindfully put into practice quite recently. It’s a daily choice to do that, mind you. It’s not easy. But every day, in every situation I need to make a conscious choice to give it to God. Sometimes I say it aloud. I have to tell myself that God can handle this, calm down, it will work out. When I speak it, He hears it, I hear it, and I believe what He’s known all along. God has abundant blessings for us and He wants so much to rain them down on us. When we get out of our own way and let Him, things get really good.
Meet Melanie P:
Melanie Pickett is a writer and blogger and is currently completing her first nonfiction book. She has battled Crohn’s disease and complications, has a now-healthy son who was born prematurely under challenging circumstances, and survived a 15-year abusive marriage and her first husband’s mental illness and eventual suicide. A wife and mother of two, she loves Red Wings hockey, reading, playing piano, and traveling adventures.