Singing, “Don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh! Every little thing gonna be all right. Don’t worry!”
… Singing sweet song of melodies pure and true, saying, “This is my message to you-ou-ou.”
Meditating on this whimsical song by Bob Marley makes for a nice reprieve from the hand-wringing that is so prevalent these days. Oh, we are a worrisome bunch! For the chronic worriers out there, I hope this article will provide what you need to be less of a “worry wart” (affectionately speaking). For the non-chronic worriers, I think you’ll benefit as well.
Don Joseph Doewey, an expert on the matter and author of “The End of Stress,” claims that 85% of what we worry about never happens! He went on to write, “Now there’s a study that proves it. This study looked into how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen.”
“Lo and behold, it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”
That last sentence really struck a chord in me. The author is claiming that our minds can punish us and I couldn’t agree more. Understanding this truth is the key to overcoming worry.
Applying the following wisdom set me free from worry and I’m confident that it will do the same for you too.
Did you know that you have the capacity to think about what you’re thinking about? Realizing this equips you to no longer allow your mind to torture you with anxious, worrisome thoughts. In fact, such thoughts will no longer be tolerable! Once you learn the discipline of pushing such thoughts out of your mind you resultantly create a vacuum inside that attracts more negative thoughts. So, what do you do then?
Well, pushing fearful and worrisome thoughts out is only half the battle. (And trust me, this is a battle.) The next step is to proactively fill the vacuum of your mind with positive thoughts, you know, like the lyrics to that famous Bob Marley song. Yet, that song is a mere reflection of “The Source” of all that is good and perfect (James 1:17).
Why not fill your mind with promises from God as contained in the Bible? For those who love God and whose lives surely show it, there is no excuse for worry! Jesus Himself said, “Don’t worry about your life (Matt 6).” Now, this begs the question, “Who do you think Jesus is?”
If you believe Him to be nothing more than a great teacher, then these words are probably of little comfort to you. But if you believe Him to be the author of your life and eternal God who was born of a virgin into this world to live a sinless life as the God-Man to reconcile humanity back to God through His death on the cross, then these words, “Don’t worry about your life” may very well be some of the most indescribably comforting words ever.
Regarding those promises from God as contained in the Bible, here are a few for you to memorize, and trust me; if you do memorize them they will be made available for you to fill up your mind with whenever you’re battling worrisome thoughts. Kick those thoughts out of your head and make some room for the following (all in the NIV version):
1. …make up your mind not to worry… Luke 21:14
2. …my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
3. Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you… Psalm 55:22
4. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge… Psalm 91:4
5. So 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
6. 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
7. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7
8. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5
9. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation… present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
10. 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. Matt 11:28-30
11. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy… In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. Psalm 34:4-7
12. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalm 34:17-19
A final note: These Scriptures are not intended to be memorized and recited in a rote fashion as if the words themselves have a “magical” aspect to them. On the contrary, they are the very words spoken by God Himself TO YOU through men who were carried along, or completely possessed, by His Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Now, if you believe that, then I’m confident that the wisdom contained in this article will “do the trick” for you (pun intended) and set you free from worry!
— Paul and Danica Bartelme have been married for 23 years and have three children age 13 years and under. Jacob (13), Lily (11), and Luke (9). They’ve been residents of Escondido for 12 years and love Harley motorcycles and good music. They pastor Escondido’s very own Sanctuary Church.