Habits are hard to break for a reason. Take it from me, a recovering worrier. It’s a battle to stop the worry gremlins in my head, but it can be done. This continual battle is won not by myself, but with a little help from my friends and a lot of wisdom from God.
I’m a student of habits. Reading and learning about habit formation as it relates to memory and everyday life is fascinating. Habits help our brain function effectively as it takes less brain power to do them once they’re learned and ingrained. But this quality also makes them difficult to break.
The habit of worry is a conundrum. It should provide the brain with ease, but instead simultaneously ramps up anxiety and pulls our focus away from important tasks. It creates a vicious cycle of more angst. When worry is a habit, the pattern it evokes is unease, not ease. By making worry a habit, instead of making things simpler, we make them more difficult.
King Solomon said it plainly:
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up ~Proverbs 12:25
Maybe for some of us, there should be another commandment from God- “Thou Shall Not Worry”. The Bible talks about the detriments of worry while science and life experience also tell us it’s unhealthy. Yet still we do it.
Theoretically, it should be simple not to worry. Trust God and don’t worry. If we’re fully trusting Him with everything, there’s no reason to worry, right? Following this logic, if we worry, then we aren’t fully trusting God. Ouch.
If we believe God is in control, has our backs and a superior plan, then worry is a lack of faith, trust and surrender. If all this is true, then why still worry? It’s simply not logical, but then neither is worry. I believe we worry out of habit-dare I say, a sinful habit.
We think of sinful habits as lying, slander, cheating, and even worse. But sin can grow from the simple habit of worrying. Here’s what Jesus says:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? ~Matthew 6:25-27
I view this as Jesus simply saying, “why?” What’s the point of worrying?” God has us covered, just like the birds or as Jesus continues in the next verse, the lilies of the field.
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? ~Matthew 6:28-30
Jesus literally calls us out on our lack of faith by worrying! If lack of faith results in worry, having faith should equate to not worrying. But it’s not that easy once it’s a habit. But if we say we have faith, then we must stop this habit. Just Stop. Let’s trust and rest in the truth Jesus told us: God sees us as valuable and will care for us.
Worry won’t add a single moment to our lives as Jesus said. In fact, all it does is steal our moments. In my MemoryMinders work, I’m focused on making moments memorable. I look back upon moments in my past, my mom’s past (she inadvertently taught me to worry) and others who worry and see wasted moments.
Time spent in worry steals moments from our lives. I don’t want to remember how much and often I worried about this, that, or the other thing. I want to spend my time living, loving, and following God’s call on my life.
I want my life to reflect faith and trust, not worry and anxiety.
If this is your desire too, then let’s create a new habit and stop worrying. Let’s not think of how we can’t, because we can. Every time the worry gremlins pop up, think of it like I’m going to-as a new commandment from God.
Thou shall not worry.
To learn more about #habit and its transforming impact on our lives, check out my MemoryMinders blog series on habits here.