When Worry Doesn’t Work

The orders came in. The bottom line wasn’t one we asked for. It certainly wasn’t on our “dream sheet.” I mean, seriously – why do they even call it that? As my husband and I tried to absorb the news, I could feel the familiar sensation creeping up my spine and toxifying my soul.


                Where will we live?

                Will the kids transition well and make friends?

                Will I have a place to serve and fit in in our new community?

                Will my husband deploy?

                Upending our home…again…do I even have the energy for this?

These scroll through my heart and mind like a playlist – on repeat – and are as unwelcome as they are familiar. I know who God is and I know that His character is as faithful as it is unfailing. But yet, bubbling to the surface, all my insecurities and fears rise.

Security is a big deal for me. For most women, typically, that’s the case. I get that. I recognize that there is a desperate need deep within me (and most of us) that daily searches the landscape for danger or hardship. I can admit it. I don’t like hard things. I don’t like to struggle. Fear and worry are close companions and I know them well. I greatly desire the safe and secure roads that, at least in my mind, look peaceful, purposeful, and affirmed with joy.

Sure. We all want those things. And somewhere in my humanity, taking all the possible dangers into my heart and rolling them around in there seems beneficial. It feels like I am working all those things out. Like worrying about them is actually giving me traction in the direction I want to go.

But it’s actually not.

Instead of peace, there is a growing angst.

Instead of joy, there is a growing despair.

Instead of love, there is a growing frustration.

And instead of listing the good, my list of hard just grows longer and longer.

(Insert deep sigh)

Deployments. Finances. Relationships… All are great big canvases for the myriad of issues and concerns, fears and failures that you just can’t control.  I worry about all of it, not because I don’t want to do anything about it. I worry, because I want to affect the outcome. I want to sway the scales toward safety. Don’t we all?

No matter how much we invest in the practice of worrying, the dividends never add up or pay out.

Angst, despair, fretting, though they may feel like control, can never usher in the precious currency of peace.

And to be honest, I am not sure I can name a time when worrying about something actually brought a good resolution. Worrying just doesn’t work.

Jesus put a finger on this very thing and called it what it was…unfruitful and useless. Check out chapter 6 in the book of Matthew:

“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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Matthew 6:25-27

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:33-34

Priorities. Focus. Hope.

Trusting in the God who is, was, and will always be good.

That’s what works.

God is good, beloved.

He is good to me. He is good to you.

He is working, urging, calling us to trust His good plan. And though that plan may still include hard things, they won’t be our only things and they certainly won’t define our destination or landscape forever. And who knows, we just might be grateful for it all when we can trust Him in all of it.

The song I want to share today is from an artist I am just discovering – Matt Hammitt. The song is called, “He Always Wins.” Pretty much sums it up in a nutshell.  There is not a moment or instance that He is not working within.

So, when that worry threatens to cycle and strangle, go ahead and give yourself permission to stop it. Knock it off, girlfriend. It just doesn’t work.  Remind yourself of what is good, lovely, true…and find yourself occupying a peace that passes all understanding with a God who has your good in mind.

With joy for the journey,