Living ‘worry-free’ seems a pipe-dream to most of us (a pipe dream is an unrealistic hope or fantasy, a phrase alluding to the strange dreams experienced by smokers of opium pipes in the 18th and 19th centuries.) We spend our lives steeped in worry, to the extent that even a lack of worry can induce anxiety in us!
Yet worrying betrays a lack of trust in a benevolent God whose care for the lilies and sparrows should remind us that nothing is too small to escape His loving attention. (Matt 6:25-34) When we worry, we effectively say we don’t believe God cares enough to help us or is not powerful enough to help us… and so we take on to our shoulders responsibilities and burdens we were never designed to bear.
One way of overcoming worry is taking time out at regular intervals throughout the day to stop and consciously focus our attention on God. This helps us to allow God into our lives and gives us the opportunity to hand our worries over to Him. I frequently write down the worries, put them in an envelope and post them to God (via the dustbin.) They are then His problem, not mine!
Another antidote to worry is praise. It’s hard to remain anxious when we sing out the truth of God’s Word (‘over fear, over lies, we’re singing the truth/That nothing is impossible with You,’ as Rend Collective sing.) Singing is one of the best ways I know to dispel worry.
Ultimately, it’s a question of where we put our trust. We either trust God to take care of us (living ‘care-less’ because ‘He cares for us’ (1 Pet 5:7)), or we believe it’s all down to us (living like Atlas, with the world on our shoulders). As Matt Redman reminds us, God wants to ‘take the world off my shoulders , the weight of it all off my shoulders’ (‘Hope Is Marching On‘).