“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7, NLT).
“Worry never climbed a hill, worry never paid a bill” goes the first line of an old poem I learned in college. I don’t remember the rest, but I do remember the point—worry accomplishes nothing. How many of us waste time and energy and lose sleep, turning things over in our minds, spinning our wheels only to make ourselves more anxious about our real or imagined problems? Or because we feel we have to do something, we make it worse by acting rashly.
God wants us to give our worries to him. But what does that mean? Will our problems go away? Will our suffering end? Does it mean we go into denial and live in la-la land? Though God is intimately and personally concerned about every aspect of our lives, he doesn’t wave a magic wand and make all the bad parts of life disappear. But he does love us and help us through those parts. He’s the one to lean on for strength, peace and hope. Trusting God to care for us isn’t denial, it’s the only logical way to deal with our worries.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT).
How do you stop worrying, especially if you’re a worrywart? According to Paul, it’s as simple as praying about everything and thanking God for everything too. Gratitude is the opposite of feeling entitled to rights or benefits a person may or may not have worked for.
It can be difficult to always be thankful, but it can be learned as a spiritual discipline. You might have to start small, by thanking God for the little things, like a flower or someone’s laugh. As you do, your gratitude muscle will grow and get stronger. Sharing problems with God and being thankful, not just sometimes, but all the time, brings God’s peace.