Worry. I think we’ve all felt it. Sometimes it’s just a small nagging feeling, while at other times it feels crushing.
When you are worried, what do you do? Do you distract yourself or vent to someone? Do you curl up in a ball and cry? These are natural reactions to the emotions that come with worry. It is important that we, as Christians, remember that we have a loving, heavenly Father who can bring us more comfort than any of these other things.
I have faced worry many times this year in Acteens and in other youth activities. I’ve worried while sharing my testimony with large groups of people and when standing up to sing solos. When I felt that worry, I had would stop and pray. If I was with my friends, I asked them to pray with me.
During those times of worry, God brought me comfort. Sometimes He would bring verses or lyrics from Christian songs to my mind. These serve as a reminder that He is in control. Other times He brought along people who gave me encouragement. And sometimes, He simply provided a sense of peace in my heart. Through it all, I was reminded that I am not alone. I have a gracious God holding me up.
Ways We Can Respond to Worry
In Philippians 4:6–7, Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (HCSB).
We can tell God about our struggles and pray for His comfort and guidance. We pray with thanksgiving because we know God hears our prayers and is more powerful than anything we may face. “You are my strength, I watch for you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely,” (Psalm 59:9–10a NIV). We can be reassured by knowing that no problem is too big or small for God. He cares about each of us and has a plan for us.
Rely on God
Why should we pray when God already sees what we’re going through? Oftentimes, we try to do things on our own instead of relying on God for help. We trust in our own strength which can potentially let us down. Proverbs 3:5–6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (NKJV). By praying, we show that we want God’s help and acknowledge that we can’t do it without Him.
Guard Our Hearts and Minds
As we learn to pray and rely on God for His strength and peace, we also need to spiritually grow in other areas of our lives. How do we go about this? Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things” (HCSB).
People are like sponges — meaning, we soak up whatever we surround ourselves with. The things in our lives that are not commendable are the tools that the devil uses to grow doubts and cause us to sin.
What things are you allowing into your life that aren’t of moral excellence? Maybe it’s a TV show you shouldn’t watch, music you shouldn’t listen to, or a friend who isn’t a good influence on you. Pray to the Lord and ask Him to show you what things you need to let go of and ask for His strength while you let them go. The more we dwell on the things that are good, the more our lives are opened to be used by God.
I encourage you to memorize Philippians 4:6–8 or write it in a place you will see often. By knowing these verses, we are reminded all throughout our day that when stressful things come up, we have God watching over us and He is just a prayer away. Let’s remain conscious of the things we surround ourselves with. Together, let’s make more of an effort to rely on God as our strong foundation and make Him the center of our focus.
Destiny MacCarthy, a 2023 National Acteens Panelist, is from Montgomery, Alabama, and attends Eastern Hills Baptist Church.