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What To Do With Your Worrying

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve been prone to anxiety. I’m not sure when this tendency started, but in first grade I began to worry that my father or mother would die suddenly. Although I had no basis for this fear (my parents were healthy), it was exacerbated when a second-grade classmate’s father passed away ­unexpectedly.

Another fear was added in fourth grade when I discovered that President Theodore Roosevelt developed asthma at a young age. Once that seed was planted in my worry-prone mind, I started having breathing difficulties. As I continued to worry about this, the symptoms increased until tests revealed no illness. The symptoms vanished once I got a clean bill of health.

Overcoming anxiety is a big job that ­requires great effort. If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried and failed many times.

A basic Internet search will reveal many step-by-step approaches for eliminating worry from your life. Unfortunately, the majority of them put the entire burden on us.

This isn’t a good idea. For one thing, it’s not easy for us to just stop worrying, especially if we’re anxious by nature. It truly is a big job. More important, these I-can-do-it methods completely remove Christ from the equation when we should be letting Jesus do most of the work. Not only is it just about impossible to overcome anxiety without getting to know Jesus personally, it’s also a bad idea. So if you’ve been unable to stop worrying on your own, be thankful.

It’s not easy to trust God, especially when we’ve become accustomed to being in control. Turning your life (and your worries) over to the Lord can be difficult, but we must do it to experience his peace.

Abridged and adapted from From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace by Gary Zimak (Liguori Publications, © 2014).

Published in2016 SeptemberReflections