Read Joshua 1:9
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (NASB)
How do negative thoughts and "what-ifs" keep you in a state of fear? Why is it hard to be happy and worried at the same time? How does it make you feel knowing that God is with you wherever you go?
What a toll worry takes in our lives! First, it has a negative effect on our health. Studies show that worry decreases our immune system and thus our ability to fight off illness. Chronic worry causes high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, which is linked to heart disease and stroke.
Worrisome thoughts cause confusion. Our brains contain more than two billion megabytes of capacity to handle the challenges and problems of daily life. But when we're preoccupied with worry and fear, thoughts become tangled and logical thinking can actually be blocked. Chronically worried people complain they can't concentrate and are easily distracted from daily chores and tasks.
Worry saps our energy. All of us have a certain supply of emotional and physical energy for every day. Yet, if we use it up worrying, we can run out of gas and burn out. We spin our wheels but don't get anywhere. I don't know about you, but I need all the energy I can muster to deal with what's on my plate each day!
Each of us has God-given talents and gifts to bless others with, but fear and worry keep those talents in the closet. It causes us to avoid new situations and miss taking advantage of opportunities to develop and utilize our gifts. I love this quote because it's so true: "All of us have reservoirs of full potential," says Swiss psychiatrist Paul Tournier, "but the road that leads to those reservoirs is guarded by the dragon of fear," a dragon that can sideline you from the very purpose you're designed for, especially when what God is calling you to do involves taking a risk or leaving your comfort zone.
Worry sets us up for failure. "I was afraid that was going to happen!" said a mother of a teenage driver who had just had his first wreck. Fear creates what we fear; it has a magnetism that attracts or quickens the approach of the feared event. As Job said, "What I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me" (Job 3:25 nasb).
Worry robs us of faith. Just like a seesaw, worry and trust rise and fall proportionately. When one increases, the other decreases.
So, each of these reasons should motivate us to never stuff or deny our worries, but to deal with them head-on and break free. In the midst of our anxious, worry-prone world, God tells us throughout scripture, don't be worried, anxious, afraid, or terrified. The One who knows the end from the beginning also knows every emotion men and women will struggle with. Although the fearsome things on this earth seem to multiply, no matter what we have to face, God's message doesn't change.
Lord, thank You for the many ways You comfort and protect me. Please help me to let go of fear. Amen.