Worry is a Prison
“Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you”
- Psalms 55:22 NLT
When I was a little girl my Daddy was the strongest man in the universe. He could lift me up above his head to touch the ceiling, and walk around the room with me wrapped around his leg. He could throw me into the air and catch me every time and when he would carry me on his shoulders never once did I worry I would fall. But most of all when I was in his arms I knew that nothing in the whole world could hurt me because my Daddy would keep me safe.
Somewhere along the line, though, I started to face worries that my Daddy couldn’t fix. I became so bogged down with them, so overwhelmed that I felt paralyzed by their weight. I believed the lie that I would always be this way, that anxiety and worry were my lot in life—that it was natural. I was crippled by panic attacks often brought on by crowds or unfamiliar situations. I remember quite vividly the first time I attended one of the women's bible studies at our church, I was so overwhelmed and panicked that I couldn't even get out of my car. I was going to give up when Travis showed up and prayed for me just so I could get through the doors. I barely remember anything that was said that day, it took all the strength that I had to just stay in that sanctuary and not bolt out. Honestly, I think I might have had I not been terrified of what people would think about me if I did.
Fast forward five years and that timid, worried woman is a thing of the past. God has done such a beautiful work in me and it's my passion to tell others about what He's done and what He will do again. Your story isn't over. You are not too old. Jesus doesn't care that your mom and your grandmother were worriers too, He wants to break the cycle with you. Your situation is not unique. Worrying is not your love language; it is your bondage! There is freedom, there is hope. I was once so weighted down by the worries of life that my mind was consumed by them, now I know what it is to feel weightless. My shoulders were not fashioned to bear all the burdens of life, they were made so that I could lift my hands to the One who is strong enough to carry them all.
Now I’m not saying worries don’t try to creep their way in or that I don’t have times where those familiar voices start to whisper all of the what if’s and maybe’s, but along the line, I learned that God was good and that He was for me. He isn’t those things only when I deserve them (because quite frankly I’ve never deserved them), He is those things because it is His nature—because He’s a good Father. It’s the most illogical thing in the world to be worried, to be anxious, when you are in the arms of the Father.
It never even crossed my mind when I was a little girl that my Daddy would drop me or that I could be harmed on his watch because I knew His character, I knew that I was loved and cared for. I knew that I was important to him, that I was precious in his sight. How much more? How much more precious am I to God? Psalms 129:18-19 says, "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!" Oh, church, what would our lives look like if we could grasp only a handful of those thoughts? How weightless could we become if we knew how supremely important we are to Him?
I've seen a whole bunch of people willing to lay down their burdens only to pick them back up the next week, or day, or hour when God didn't come through the way that they thought He should—when He didn't take their suggestions. How many times have I done that very thing myself? How many times have I run back to the foot of the cross to pick up the burden that I surrendered there? What it all comes down to is trust. Do we trust Him with our worries or do we think we can do a better job at fixing the problem ourselves?
If we don't know Him, how can we trust Him? Psalms 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” If we’re too busy to taste then we have no foundation to fall back on. If we've never tasted
how can we see? If we have tasted then it's time to remember! Remember all the times that He came through in the past. He's never failed you yet! Now, let's get real here for a second, that does not mean that His plan has always coincided with your own. Just because His plan has looked different does not mean that He has failed or abandoned you. Following Him means you have given up your right to have things your own way! Following Him means that you've entrusted your present and your future into His hands, that you've chosen to stop calling the shots—to stop driving the car—and you are allowing Him to take the lead. It doesn't mean that it's not scary, only that you've chosen to move forward in His will in spite of the fear.
If we are intentional about cultivating a relationship with Him, about getting to know His character, then when the anxieties come (and they will come) we know how strong our Daddy is and that we are safe when we are in His arms.
"That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."
- Matthew 6:25-34 NLT
Written by Amanda Strauser