My son Cooper is 13 years old. I don’t know how much you remember about being 13, but it is a pretty tough deal. He has to deal with school, and tests, and his brothers and sister. He has to deal with his mom and dad who are constantly on him about something. He plays baseball against kids pitching pretty fast. He has friends, and then he has these girls he thinks are cute. It’s a lot to take in when you’re 13.
Cooper, as our oldest, is pretty cautious in general. He is also pretty nervous about trying new things. On his baseball team he hates to bat leadoff, the first batter in the lineup. He loves to bat 2nd. He needs to see another one of his teammates face the pitcher so he knows what to expect. He’s a very good baseball player, but almost every single game he walks up to me at some point to tell me how worried he is about facing this pitcher…even if it’s a pitcher he’s faced before.
Last year, when his school started their Standardized testing, I was driving him to school and he said, “Dad I’m worried about these tests.” I told him that I completely understood and that we would pray before he got out of the car. I also reminded him that he made good grades, is a good student and does really well picking up things he hasn’t learned yet if that happened, so not to be afraid. We prayed, but I could see as he was getting out of the car that he was still worried.
As his dad, I would have given anything to take away his fears and concerns but I couldn’t.
I would love to admit that worry is just something kids deal with, but we all know that isn’t true.
I asked a question on Facebook and Twitter a while back and got tons of great feedback. I just asked a simple question: “What do you worry about?”
Here were some of the public responses. I also got some private ones.
- Not succeeding
- Letting people down
- Making decisions or taking risks
- Getting older, unfulfilled dreams, children growing up
- Career choices
- The future
- If you’re doing enough
- Missing out on what God has for me
If I were to sum it up, the biggest things people seem to be worried about are success, money, health, family, and the future.
I realize there are probably things that you worry about that aren’t on this list, and that’s okay.
Jesus talked about worry in Matthew 6. Evidently He felt that it was important, because it’s pretty early on in His very first sermon.
“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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?“ And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34
He starts pretty specifically and sums up everything we could possibly worry about when He says, “Don’t worry about your life…”
It’s hard to be much clearer than that.
But when you hear that, you might think, “Well how am I supposed to do that? Isn’t worry human nature?”…
Well kind of.
I don’t want to pscho-analyze you, but I want us to dive a little deeper into our worry and see if there’s something there that Jesus might be speaking to.
What do we think worry is?
1) We think worry might be a warning. We’ve heard those stories of someone who had a feeling or a premonition just before something bad happened, and so we convince ourselves that our “worry” is a warning that something bad is going to happen.
2) We think worry is a way of life. We think we are supposed to worry about our jobs and our future and our kids and…
So let’s address each of these thoughts about worry.
1) Worry isn’t warning. The reason I can say this with certainty is because Worry isn’t the voice of God. The voice of God is the voice of God. When I learn His voice I won’t mislabel it as worry! If God wants to warn me of something, He warns me of something. He doesn’t give me an obscure worry that causes me to doubt if it was His voice, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with what I’m feeling.
Jesus told us about a helper we would have after He left the earth.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:26-27
He said that the Holy Spirit is our Advocate. That’s someone who is on your side. Someone who is there to help you. And when Jesus said He was leaving the Holy Spirit for us, He said that it was a gift of peace for our hearts and minds so that we didn’t have to be troubled or afraid.
So worry isn’t warning. Warning is warning. If I’m unsure whether something is a warning I would ask 2 simple questions:
- Is this a way God speaks (to me)?
Be careful not to interject that you think someone, somewhere, that one time felt something before something bad happened…has God ever specifically spoken to you this way?
- How am I supposed to act in light of what God has warned me?
I believe if there isn’t a specific response that it’s just worry and not warning. A warning is “Get out of the way, a car is about to hit you”. A worry is “This is a dangerous world where bad things happen to kids.” There’s nothing I can do with that other than to just worry.
So worry isn’t warning. Warning is a warning.
Later this week I’ll unpack the 2nd part of our worries, and how we should deal with them.
Until then, try to evaluate your worry. Where is it coming from? What are the triggers?
Now spend a moment in prayer and thank God for clarity in the moments where He may be warning you, and ask for peace in the moments where you are worried!
Until next time…
Latest posts by Jeremy Isaacs (see all)
- What To Do When You’re Worried - February 9, 2018
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