One Holy Choice to Overcome Worry
by Ginger Harrington
“We’re moving to Japan this summer,” my husband announces as we sit down to dinner. Four pairs of eyes open wide with surprise. Maybe even shock.
“Daddy, where’s Japan? Is it far away,” my youngest daughter asks.
This wasn’t the conversation I expected or wanted at the dinner table. Unprepared for news that requires drastic change, I try to take it in. Excited and upset, emotions and thoughts fight an internal tug of war. As a military family, we’ve relocated many times, but as our oldest enters the high school years, we hoped to settle in Virginia. This is the worst time for an international move—this is my belief that shouts in rejection of the news.
I sit straight in my chair, wood pressing against my back, as the vision of moving boxes makes me slightly nauseous. The past few moves have been a personal battle zone of anxiety, and my internal system immediately serves up the familiar fears that come with moving.
Squelching my emotions, I jump into the conversation, doing my best to build excitement and calm the concerns of our three children. Enthusiastic on the outside, I fight the past worries that try to take over the present.
The next morning, I wake early as the sun begins to light the sky with a soft light filtering through the window. As my concerns ramp up for the day, a Bible verse comes to mind. “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1 NASB).
Lord, why do I worry so much? I silently pray, burrowing deeper into the covers, still warm from sleep. How do I overcome these emotions and fears that make moving so hard for me?
This morning, I wish I could apply this verse directly to my soul like a Band-Aid. I long for one quick fix that will stop the whimpers of my soul that balk at every transition and uncertainty.
The biblical word for trouble is tarasso, meaning to agitate, to cause inward commotion, to take away calmness of mind. As if that’s not enough, the meaning extends deeper to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread, to render anxious and distressed.1 Like a bully, trouble threatens and darkens our thoughts. Giving into the temptation to let our thoughts spin with an increasing, frantic energy, worry can hold our hearts captive with an iron grip of fear.
“Do not let” . . . I see the choice. In this moment, choosing faith over fear is one holy act to consecrate the day and settle my heart. Faith is for stepping out of the shadows of fear into the vibrancy of God.
“Believe in God, believe also in Me.” Overused and diluted, the word believe has become more of an opinion rather than a choice infusing strength to resist the troublesome burden of worry. To rely on, trust in, cling to and place confidence in—this is the lifeline for our souls and the conduit to receive the strength and peace of God.
In this verse, Jesus simply states a strategy to fight fear and overcome worry. Verses will never be Band-Aids, but the decision to believe opens our hearts for the power of God to strengthen and calm. Peace of mind and rest for the soul are the blessed by-products of trusting Jesus as we make a practical choice to “cast all our anxieties on Him” (1 Peter 5:7 NASB).
One holy choice to trust connects God’s supply to our desperate need. In the pale morning light, the Spirit reminds me that believing God is a decision rather than an opinion, hope or emotion. A choice rather than an instant fix for the problem at hand.
Holding onto faith in the midst of worry is a sacred offering as we rely on Christ in the moment. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12:1). Today I discover that holiness comes when we make room for God in our worries and struggles, offering our hearts just as they are, not as we wish they were.
As I face the day, placing my feet firmly on the floor, I ask God for the faith I need in this moment. In the middle of my ordinary, broken life, I experience strength to let go of worry this morning. I know I’ll have to make this choice again and again in the days to come.
For all of us, emotions will come and go, for life has no shortage of difficult days. Worry happens—it’s part of life on this earth—but holiness is found in each small but significant choice to trust God one more time.
Author of Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life, Ginger Harrington is an award-winning blogger, engaging speaker and ministry leader for Planting Roots: Strength to Thrive in Military Life, a non-profit ministry for women in the military community. Read more from Ginger at GingerHarrington.com.
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