Do you ever struggle with advice like, “give your worries to God” and feel tempted to do a preteen-esque eye roll? Maybe throw in a heavy sigh or scrunched face and shoulder shrug to make your confusion and annoyance fully known?
Or maybe you read a verse that sounds more like a command than advice.
Do not be anxious about anything…” Philippians 4:6 NIV
Be anxious about nothing? Is that humanly possible? And if so, how do I get to a station in life where there's nothing to worry about? Sign me up!
Thankfully, there's more to the verse and we aren't left in the dark.
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How Do I Give My Worries to God?
I've been guilty on more than one occasion of praying and leaving my quiet time with more anxiety than when I started. How can this be? If I give my worries to God, shouldn't I be feeling much lighter?
Yes! Of course, but the trouble grows when we go through the motions of giving our worries to God rather than having the discipline to really give them over and leave them in his hands. It doesn't work when we try to carry them back into the world with us.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV
In order to be worry-free, we have to be intentional. “Make wise choices” as my kids' teachers like to repeat. In our anchor verse from Philippians, we're told the keys not worrying about anything are:
- Petition (make specific, yet humble requests).
- Be thankful.
Nowhere in those steps are we promised a life without anxiety. We are told when we feel anxious we need to give our worries to God. God doesn’t want us to fake a worry-free disposition or deny our feelings.
He created us and all our emotions. And remember, he called his creation good!
Jesus himself was tempted by everything we face and certainly displayed anger, anguish, sadness, and grief. Each of these feelings can, however, easily lead to worry.
When we intentionally work on mindfulness and emotional acceptance, we learn to avoid being caught off guard by our emotions. We also ward off the temptation to stuff down what we may have been told are “un-Christian” feelings.
Instead, we can use this emotional acceptance as a signal it's time to take tho two first steps in our key verse:
Yield to God
It’s how we handle our emotions and that we choose to involve God, that matter.
God wants a clear path to our heart at all times. As we learn to accept rather than suppress our emotions, we can start the practice of being honest with God. He wants every good thing for us and a close relationship with him is the very best starting point.
We can't be intimate with God if we're parceling ourselves out, hiding the parts we think he'll find displeasing. Go to God and know you will find rest!
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
Yielding to God is far easier when we remember the promises of God! Being mindful of all he's promised reminds us that choosing to give our worries to God won't disappoint us.
Instead, we are prompted to accomplish our 3rd step:
When we can take a moment to be thankful for all God has already done in our lives, it makes it that much easier to rest in our faith that He will do it again!
Give God your worries by showering Him with praises of Thanksgiving and gratitude!
Take Your Troubles to the Lord
As you give your worries to God, you’ll find support in remembering the promises of God. They are timeless and applicable in all situations. He is faithful to fulfill each of them!
Giving your worries to God means that you fully trust in these promises and that He will make good on them (like He has already done before!).
Remember God Has a Plan for All of Us
God has a plan for all of us and God's timing is the best. When we yield to God, we are already stepping into that plan.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
Take comfort in knowing God has a plan for all of us. What's more is that his plan is for good things, prosperous things and purposeful things. You can give your worries to God because he is trustworthy!
Remember God is Always With You
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV
“Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:4-5 NIV
When you give your worries to God, you aren't snail-mailing a newsletter overseas, hoping it arrives in a timely manner. This handoff is a loving conversation with your Father.
Remember, God is always with you, an ever-present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). So simply introduce your worries to him and leave them under his care.
Remember God Loves You
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
When you find it difficult to give your worries to God, remember he loves you! There is absolutely nothing that can put you outside of God's love. None of the things that have you worried are bigger than he is.
Remember, God loves you so much that he made great sacrifices to be with you. That same God who sacrificed so greatly tells us not to fear our troubles because has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Remember God Will Give You Strength
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 NIV
“The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
How wonderful to read these verses back to back! Often when we worry, it isn't because we can't accept what is happening or coming soon. It is because we fear we don't have the strength to get through it. But remember, God will give you strength and then bless you with peace! There is no doubting you can give your worries to God!
Remember God Provides All Your Needs
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 12:22-26 NIV
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalm 23:1
Both of these passages go on to reveal more about how God provides all your needs. Read through these truths to see that when you give your worries to God you aren't left empty-handed! He replaces your worry with peace and provision.
Give Your Worries to God for Real Peace
I promise I haven't been holding out on you with the follow-up verses to where we started in Philippians. I just wanted to save the next part to the end, because it really is the best part! It is the BIG REVEAL promise that is given in response to our 3-steps to not worrying.
Reminder, the steps outlined in Philippians 4:6 are Pray, Petition and Be Thankful.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Let's see what comes next in verses 7 and 8!
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Yes! This is what we were after all along. Real peace! When we do the work of emotional acceptance and yield to God, we receive a peace that is beyond our understanding. This divine inner peace sticks around to guard our heart against future worry.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Our eyes are cleared and we can see the beauty around us so we are better equipped to Pray, Petition and Be Thankful! God never leaves us empty-handed or short changes us. He is so gracious with his gifts!
I'm curious. When you're worried, what do you focus on to restore an attitude of gratitude?
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