I Had It All Wrong (Pt. 2)

*I wrote part 1 to this post a couple of days ago, so if you haven’t read part 1, I suggest that you do so before you continue to read this.*

Assuming that you are continuing to read this because you have read the previous post, I’ll dive right in. In my last post, I talked about my experience with worry and anxiety. God used my deadly worry to open my eyes to see that I shouldn’t worry about anything. I started off the last post with a couple of questions. I’ll ask them again. Do you ever catch yourself saying that you’re worried about something? Do you ever catch yourself saying that you’re concerned with something? Probably more often than not, you use the word “worry” instead of the word “concern”.

I don’t quite remember where I was or what was going on around me when I was thinking of this, but for whatever reason, one day I was thinking about a certain situation and I was pretty worried about it (or so I thought). Then I recalled Matthew 6:25 where I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to worry. “But if I’m not supposed to worry, does that mean that I don’t care about the situation?” I thought to myself. I got to thinking and I realized that I wasn’t as much worried as I was concerned about the situation.

I think that a lot of people get worried and concerned mixed up. I’ll give the definition of worried and the definition of concerned and we’ll see how they stack up. The definition of worried according to Dictionary.com is “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts, uneasiness, or anxiety.” The definition for concerned according to Dictionary.com is “a matter that engages a person’s attention, interest, or care, or that affects a person’s welfare or happiness”.

Clearly, they are similar, but that doesn’t mean that they should be used interchangeably.

When we use the word “worry” when we are actually concerned, it can paralyze us. I was preparing to write my last post and as I was reading through Matthew 6, I got to the end of the chapter where Jesus tells us not to worry. I was reading my application Bible and at the bottom there was some elaboration on the idea of worry. It said, “Here is the difference between worry and genuine concern- worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” “Wow”, I remember thinking. How true is that (and how fitting, considering I planning on writing about the difference between the two)? Jesus told us not to worry, but he never said that we shouldn’t be concerned. When we worry, it makes us feel out of control and anxious, but when we have genuine concern we feel the urge to do something about that concern and change the situation.

Worry puts us in a ditch, but concern puts us in the passenger seat (next to God who is in the driver’s seat, of course).

I was reading a book by John MacArthur called “Found: God’s Peace”. In the first chapter he talks about avoiding anxiety through prayer (Fun fact: you can get the book for free if you email his people). Anyways, one of the lines in the first chapter says, “Some people assume that worry is the result of too much thinking. Actually, it’s the result of too little thinking in the right direction.” This got me thinking. When we talk about worry and anxiety, we often say that it is caused by thinking too much about a certain situation. While that can be true, we need to understand that thinking about it day and night won’t change the situation and will only continue to drown us in our worry and anxiety. We need to surrender all control of the situation to God and think about how perfect His plans are. After all, Jesus said it himself, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25)

I encourage you to use the word “concern” instead of the word “worry” when you are genuinely concerned with something. If you change the way you think and speak about certain things, it’ll help you focus more on right thinking and you’ll most likely end up feeling better about that situation. I’ve started saying “concerned” instead of “worry” and honestly, it changes your perspective on the situation, so I encourage you to do the same. It could change your life!


I Had It All Wrong (Pt. 1)

Do you ever catch yourself saying that you’re worried about something? Do you ever catch yourself saying that you’re concerned with something? If I had to guess, I’d say that most of the time, you say that you’re worried about something more often than you say that you’re concerned with something.

Sometimes, I find myself thinking a bit about the phrases that I say. Whether it be phrases like “What in the world?” or “I’m worried about it”, I tend to stop and think about the general meaning and the literal meaning of the phrase. When I think about the phrase “I’m worried about it” I feel a bit unclean. As I study the Bible, I’m reminded that I should never worry about anything (Matt. 6:25, Luke 12:24-34).

But as I keep thinking, the question enters my mind: am I really worried? What does worry actually look like? According to Dictionary.com, here are some of the definitions of the word “worry”: to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts, a worried condition or feeling, uneasiness, or anxiety. No wonder I feel uneasy when I think of the word “worry”. The Bible says many things about worry and anxiety. It says things like “Do not be anxious about anything…” –Phil. 4:6 and “An anxious heart weighs a man down…” –Proverbs 12:25.

There are many situations in my life where worry and anxiety have plagued my heart and mind. Situations such as being in a completely new place by myself without much with which to support myself, having to sit aside and watch as someone I dearly love was in an abusive situation, searching for a place in life where I felt I could thrive, watching as some of my closest friendships disappeared before my eyes…I could go on, but you get the picture.

I found myself in a place where worry and anxiety ruled my life to the point where I was physically impaired. I tried different methods to reduce stress such as breathing exercises, going for walks, journaling, and sleeping a lot. None of those things seemed to do the trick. I was consumed with anxiety and worry.

I tried lots of things that I thought could solve the problem, but nothing worked how I wanted. I thought that maybe if I tried something different and tried to ignore the symptoms that things would turn around and get better. Boy, was I wrong. Things kept getting worse. Eventually some things resolved themselves (some in calmer ways than others), but I still had that worry inside of me. I was still anxious because of the things that had happened. Typically, you’d expect for most of the worry to go away and things to feel better. I did start feeling better a little bit in my mind, but in my heart, I knew that things still weren’t right.

During the hard times, it was way easier to say that God was in control rather than to actually believe it. If I said that He was in control, I could make it look like I was fine, but when it came to dealing with things, I could do things the way that I saw fit. I was in control, but I was completely powerless. I realized that I could do nothing to improve my situation. There wasn’t anyone or anything on the face of the earth that could improve my situation. That’s when it hit me. I was looking in the wrong place. Nothing on this earth could give me that comfort and peace because nothing on this earth is the author and giver of that peace…God is. Numerous times, God told me to surrender it ALL to Him…not just say it with my mouth, but say it with my heart. How is giving up control of my life supposed to make me feel in control? News flash: it doesn’t. While I might feel better about it temporarily, I’m not made to be in control. Once I surrendered the situations to God, everything was out of my hands and the One who authors my footsteps gave me the peace I was looking for. I had no power to change things, but God did.

“We don’t just need faith that knows, but we need a faith that goes.” –Zachary Weathers

When I was sitting with my students in youth group on that Wednesday evening, I didn’t expect for that night to change my life. While Zach didn’t quite intend for me to understand his quote the way that I did, it couldn’t have been more impactful. Suddenly it all made sense; I don’t need a faith that simply knows that God is in control, but I need to actually surrender (go) my doubts, worries, anxieties, and fears to the One who casts out all fear…to the One who takes care of me.

I wasn’t created to worry about things. Heck, Jesus said it himself; even the birds will eat and the fields will be clothed…am I not more important than they? (Matt. 6:25-34) I shouldn’t worry about anything. God will take care of my needs in His timing.

It’s all clear, now…well, this part is. When I’m faced with times where I worry and feel anxious about things, I’ve learned to immediately surrender those situations to God. By praying in those moments and realizing that God is in complete control, I’m relieved of any worry, anxiety, and fear. And I have to say, there isn’t anything else like the feeling of God-given peace.