I can write the user’s guide for worry. I am a practitioner, with experience dating back to elementary school. Drop me into a set of circumstances, allow some time for analysis, and I will derive a list of concerns. Do I have a gift or a curse? Do I lack faith?
My engineering discipline leads me to examine an issue from many angles to address potential system failures. Might that mindset affect my life outlook by urging me to constantly ask, “What could go wrong here?”
Am I making excuses for worrying? Changing careers at age 55 has opened new avenues of worrying potential, and I am gaining expertise with increased rehearsals. Not the path I want to follow.
The Gospel of John, chapters 14-17, is for insiders. Jesus and His disciples shared a meal before Judas exited to carry out his nefarious betrayal. Once the turncoat was out of the room, Jesus spoke incredible words of encouragement. I am a disciple now, and these words are mine to claim.
Twice Jesus spoke this phrase:
“Do not let your heart be troubled …”
John 14:1 (NASB, selected)
“…Do not let your heart be troubled…”
John 14:27 (NASB, selected)
The word troubled means agitated or roiling like thundering flood waters. What did He mean by “do not let”? Sounds as though Jesus thinks I can decide my response. Could it be worry is not a given, but a choice? I checked another translation which put V27 this way:
“…So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
John 14:27 (The Message, selected)
Yes, I have a choice. With a conscious decision to worry, or a trained response that gravitates to worry, I allow my heart to enter the state of being troubled, upset, and distraught. Worry is under my control and there is a better option.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)