I tend to worry a lot, though not as much as I used to, so one may consider it humorous that I am writing on how one should not worry. On the other hand, sometimes it takes someone who’s been there to guide you through what you’re going through, and to point you to where you need to go. I think it’s important that you realize I’m a work in progress and am nowhere out of the trenches yet. This weekend, I have been struggling with anxiety, which brings me to some key things I want to mention about stress.

The tension we have in life through stress and worry is often a build-up of factors. For one, I have been sleep-deprived, from late nights studying and early mornings. Not getting enough sleep is a big part of the emotional roller coaster we face. Part of what caught me off-guard about this weekend is that I didn’t realize how exhausted I was. Sometimes the contributing factors to our anxiety aren’t clear-cut and readily identifiable.

Another thing is that I have been neglecting my relationship with God through not reading the Bible, listening to what God has to say to me through prayer, and expressing myself to Him. I think part of how worry comes into our lives is that we forget who God is. You know how—if you’ve ever moved—when you don’t hang out with your old friends anymore their personalities become a little bit foggy in your memory? By pushing my time with God into the ditch on the highway of my life, His personality becomes a little vague in my mind. Matthew 6: 25-34 talks about how you shouldn’t worry, and one of the examples given is of birds and how they’re completely reliant on God for their survival. Now the verses reveal that God takes care of the birds quite well, and how much more He cares for us. Worry is wrapped up in trying to prevent pain. It also implies that God is neither capable of, nor wanting to help me, when the truth of the matter is that God so desires to help and take care of me more than I want that for myself.

Worrying has this quality to it where, once I’ve allowed it into my heart, I defend it ruthlessly. I somehow believe that it’s my right to worry. In fact, I rationalize that if I don’t worry, nothing’s going to get done, which will only increase my worrying. Notice the irrationality of the beast? Like it or not, worry is a sin that takes God out of the picture. The thing about sin is that we try to justify our sins. So maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that we seek ways to justify our worry.

On the path to worrying through daily stresses, we forget who God is and how much He loves us, stemming from when we don’t spend time with Him. Irrational attitudes overtake us when we’re not getting our biological needs met, like proper sleep and nutrition. We push ourselves from God when we insist that we don’t need it by justifying our worry. Now that I’ve finished this article, I’m going combat the beast the way I should have tackled in the first place. I need to repent of my sin and spend time with God, before I hit the pillow tonight—hopefully for a good night’s sleep. My blessing to you is this: remember that God loves you, even much more than He loves the birds that He takes care of so well.

(Note also Phil 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:7)