When a Worry First Appears
It’s happened to me countless times. A potential worry crosses the landscape of my mind, and I become fixated. I tug on it, pick at it, stretch it, and bring it into my thought-life long past its usefulness. Soon, that single thread of uncertainty has entangled my mind in a web of worry. What happened?
Our minds are created to solve problems. Granted, not everybody knits a thread of concern into a five-armed sweater of doom as I’ve been known to do. But we all experience and process big and small warnings. For example, if a morning news report is about a house fire, your thoughts might grab onto that as a potential concern. While you eat your Cheerios with almond milk, your mind pulls up its file called “In Case of Emergency” and skims through the top questions: Do I run from this? Do I battle this? Do I call out a warning to others?
Those are useful questions if the fear is triggered by a charging bear who wants your breakfast cereal (or you for breakfast). However, these questions aren’t so useful for the less dire matter of whether you put new batteries in the smoke alarm. That concern is easy to resolve. However, your thoughts start to weave and wind through questions about family safety, fire statistics, and whether a metal object in a microwave will ignite. Yes, yes it could. But the point is that your mind is taking a worry and running with it like a kid in the middle of a windstorm with a huge kite and way too much string (and apparently no supervision).
If only we would pause and pray at the very first stage of concern; when we have a foundation of truth to stand on! Rather than after there is a web of tangents in which we are stuck.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not worry and instead take our requests and needs to God. It also says to thank the Lord. When we follow this progression of:
2.) Make our request
3.) Express gratitude
Then we calm the part of our wiring that calls us to solve, to act; because we are doing both! This shifts our focus to God and away from the worry we would otherwise play with until it fully entangles us.
When a faith response is your first response, God gives you a great peace that frees you to hear His assurances, promises, and guidance.
What concern has crossed your mind recently? Identify what piece of it, if any, is true. Pause and turn your focus on God, seek His help, and give thanks.
Lord, a new worry has entered my thoughts. I’m handing it over to You before I give it power in my life. Grant me clarity about this concern and the wisdom to call on your strength. I’m grateful that this need is drawing me to your presence.