This past Thanksgiving our oldest child had a strange episode of double vision and dizziness. At first we weren't too concerned. But after it happened three more times at school, I gave in and googled the symptoms. And the worry started to creep in.
"Heart regular rhythm without a murmur or gallop..." As a child, I would listen to my dad, a family doctor, dictate charts...slowly memorizing a whole list of ailments-I-don't-currently-have-but-could-get-someday.
Add in 5 children and a husband-- and I can come up with many hypothetically tragic scenarios to consume hours of worry-filled energy.
My mom had a blood clot in her leg-- I immediately began feeling pain in one of mine.
Our daughter complained of stomach pain-- I was sure her appendix was about to rupture.
It didn't help that our 4th child's symptoms were a reality. After months of reassurances, we learned that Selah had the disease Pompe. She eventually died from it in April 2008.
In some ways, that led to a healthy perspective--
"So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom." -Psalm 90:12
On the other hand, it only amplified my tendency to-- Worry. Fear.
It is still a struggle for me. But I'm thankful for the battle, because it keeps me coming back to God, clinging to Him, focusing my mind and heart on what I know is True.
And slowly, God is winning.
So how does God help me battle worry?
1. He helps me to see that worry is sin.
In my worry, I'm doubting who God is and His control over all things. I'm forgetting His unfailing love. I ask Him to help me-- "Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." -2 Cor. 10:5
It is not only wrong to worry, it is infidelity, because worrying means that we do not think that God can look after the details of our lives, and it is never anything else that worries us. -Oswald Chambers
2. He reminds me of my worry-verses.
"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You." -Psalm 56:3
"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray." -James 5:13
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." -Philippians 4: 5 and 6
3. He helps me to stay in the present.
God promises strength for the current... not the anticipated. He tells me, "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself." -Matthew 6:34
"God already knows what my tomorrow will be...it will not catch Him off guard...He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present." -George Macdonald
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength." -Corrie Ten Boom
4. He helps me choose to believe.
God helps me believe who He is, that He is loving and faithful. He helps me believe that His plan, what He allows, is best. And when I am struggling with doubt, He helps me pray-- "I believe, help my unbelief." -Mark 9:24
5. He reminds me to give thanks. With His help, I can give thanks. With His help, I can remember that if my hope is not in Him, I'm clinging to an idol.
"Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your savior, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security." -Elisabeth Elliot
6. He shows me that little eyes are watching.
For me, this is huge motivator. Our children take note of where I turn when anxiety and worry start to rise. I want to live out-- "Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you." -1 Peter 5:7
7. He lifts my eyes and heart to Heaven and Eternity.
This is not the end. I know Heaven is real. And that changes everything.
If God is for us, who can be against us?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8: 31, 32, 35, 38, 39
My battle with worry will probably never be over. It's a resurfacing struggle. But when I start to sink into a swirling pit of fear-worry-anxiety, I want to face and fight the battle--
With Him and through Him.
"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. ~2 Timothy 1:7"
As I drove our daughter to the doctor's office this past November, I felt the worry that had been rising, washed away by His peace. Genuine peace and calm. Yes, with my hypochondriac tendencies, I did have a bag packed for just in case they sent us to the emergency room. But, God's peace that passes understanding won out over worry.
We still don't have for-sure-medical-answers. But we do have for-sure-strongholds from Him that we can cling to.
My prayer is that this hope and these promises from God will encourage you whenever worry starts to rise. That your faith in Him, will override your fear.