Getting Rid of Worry
Worry is like a fog. If you want to get rid of worry and anxiety in your life, you need to get rid of the fog.
Have you ever been in a dense fog and tried to push it out of the way? You can push as much as you want, but more fog just rolls in behind it. You can’t move fog by pushing. It doesn’t work.
Likewise, you can’t rid yourself of worry and anxiety by saying, “Just don’t worry! Don’t be anxious!” You can’t push them out of the way. Some people even worry that they can’t rid themselves of worry!
What is worry?
Worry happens when your picture of what should be happening doesn’t fit the picture of what is happening. Or what should happen in the future doesn’t match what you believe will happen. Your “should” picture isn’t the same as your “is” picture. And when they’re not the same, you think, “Gee, that’s a problem. And if I don’t solve that problem, things could get even worse in the future.”
So you’re concerned about the current and future results. The pictures don’t match. And the farther apart those two pictures are, the more anxious you become.
What you need is for those pictures to be the same. You need to get rid of the fog.
What gets rid of fog? Sunshine! The antidote for fog is the sun’s light and warmth. When the sun appears, the fog dissipates. It’s been replaced by bright sunlight.
You need some kind of sunlight to dissipate the fog of worry and anxiety. But what pushes worry away? What is the sunlight that will rid you of anxiety?
Joy is the sunlight
When you have joy, worry vaporizes. When you’re filled with joy, there’s no room for anxiety. Joy is like warmth and light for your heart. When you have joy in your heart, your “should” and “is” pictures are the same.
But how, exactly, do you get those pictures to be the same? How do you fill your heart with joy? Thinking, “I’ll be joyful!” seems as futile as, “Just don’t worry!” How do you make it happen?
The solution is to let God change your “should” picture. Let Him take out your wants and replace them with His will. He then has the power to make that picture the “is” picture, too. Your pictures match, you are filled with joy, and worry and anxiety are gone.
When you’re filled with joy, there’s no room for anxiety. Joy is like warmth and light for your heart.
Sounds simple, right? But we both know it isn’t. The problem is that you have to deny yourself. You have to let go of your own desires. You must consider them unimportant and stop pursuing them.
That’s never easy, because those are self’s wants. And self is always opposed to God.
It all comes down to a choice. Will you choose your own goals and plans, along with worry and anxiety? Or will you submit to God’s goals and plans for you, resulting in joy and peace?
A small example
We recently had some repair work done in our house. After the plumber installed a new bathtub, it didn’t look right. Sure enough, when I checked that evening, it wasn’t installed correctly. That night I lay awake wondering how they would fix the problem. I thought of all kinds of issues arising from this potential mistake.
Then I realized I had the choice to not worry. It took a few minutes, but I finally turned this (really small, I admit) problem over to God and was soon asleep again. The next morning everything fell into place, the problem was solved, and it took no effort on my part.
Once again, God proved to me that he can handle anything. Even crooked bathtubs. Just imagine what He can do with a real problem!
Make the right choice
Jesus said to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Mark 12:28-31). With everything you are, have, and hope to be. Then you’ll have no capacity for loving self. If you love God fully, it’s a lot easier to deny yourself and commit completely to Him.
That’s the first step to eliminate worry. My next post will look at step two.
What’s the best thing about getting rid of worry?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment below.
Photo credit: Pete, on Flickr