From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”

Worry= a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.  

I was in this state of anxiety this week.

With the holiday,  battling writer’s block, and a tight schedule, I’ve gotten so behind on the blog. I also need to work on the first e-book I’ve started, and revamp my bible study material to teach the ladies at church. Along with that is a nagging sense of pressure to produce transparent pieces that minister to women on a practical level.  Writing is hard y’all!

As I brooded over all I needed to get done, the “what ifs” started popping in.  Things like “what if I get weeks behind on the blog, what if I lose my inspiration completely, what if I never get to finish that e-book, and what if I’m not prepared when it comes time to teach?”

Through some prayer partners, fellow writers, and in my daily time with Jesus, the Lord brought it to my attention that this was all self-inflicted worry.  I placed all these expectations on myself.  Standards without flexibility, giving myself no grace. (Have I mentioned I’m a recovering perfectionist?)

I had to go back and re-read my post on Proper Perspective, and re-apply the truth I had just taught. I needed to be reminded to rest in the Lord, remain in his word, and rely on his Spirit.

God has given me this platform to proclaim the word and help women to know, live, and invest the truth.  He gives me every post, I just have to make sure I’m tuned into his leading through my quality time with him every day.  My job is to put the time in studying, praying, and living out the things I teach.  His job is everything else.

His timing is perfect, and so is his track record. I just need to trust him.

Maybe you’re as forgetful as I am, and you’ve had a similar experience lately.  Times where you find yourself wandering down the rabbit trail of “what ifs” when God desires you to stand firm on the path of “what is“.

Worry is a common stronghold for women.  We crave control, we’re problem solvers, we like to get things done.  So in the unknown that characterizes our walk of faith, it’s easy to fall into the snare of the “what ifs”. If you’re a:

  • Mom– What if my kids don’t get saved; live a life of sin; get cancer; die before me…
  • Wife– What if my husband cheats on me; leaves me; doesn’t get that job; doesn’t walk with Jesus…
  • Daughter– What if my parents get sick; I’m the only one to take care of them; I can’t afford their medicine…
  • Friend– What if they gossip about me; find a new friend; they like someone else more than me…
  • Worker– What if I don’t get enough hours; lose that promotion; get fired; can’t pay my bills…

We could sit and dwell for days on all the different scenarios that could happen.  But where’s the profit in that?  We don’t gain anything other than a few more wrinkles and alot of irritability.

What the Lord wants us to do is to think soberly about the circumstances of life, to discipline our thinking, so that we can worship him freely, without the restraints of unnecessary fears.

Jesus addressed worry in Matthew 6:25-34.  You should read it.  He starts and ends this passage with “take no thought”– basically don’t worry about the things of this life.  God is a perfect provider and will meet all your needs,  you can count on it.

~Matthew 6:33~ But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

Don’t panic over your problems, put time in with Jesus.  Pray over it all, praise him for who he is and what he has done.  Proclaim the promises of what he will do.

Walk by faith and not by sight.

The apostle Paul also gave us instructions for winning the war with worry:

~1Corinthians 10:5~ Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Instead of stewing over situations outside of your control, and imagining things that may never happen, arrest those thoughts and apply the truth. Put your mind in submission to the word of God.

~Philippians 4:8~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Shifting our focus from the “what ifs” to “what is” true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and praise, will naturally turn our hearts from worry to worship as we recount all the ways God is present, powerful, and perfect.

Even if you’re facing great uncertainty, a scary diagnosis, a wayward child, marital problems, or are buried under the weight of a busy schedule, no matter what- God is faithful. 

The Lord is willing and able to provide you with everything you need to extinguish worry before it engulfs you.  You have to be intentional to be sober minded and turn your thoughts toward him. Go from worry to worship today!

~Philippians 4:6-7~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

37 thoughts on “From Worry to Worship~ Shifting your focus from the “What ifs” to “What is”

  1. Powerful word. I woke up feeling defeated and full of anxiety about my new job in an Urban school for boys. It’s a place where a control freak, like me, has no control. I lost a bit of my sanity and packed up my desk in the middle of class yesterday and told my principal, “I quit.” I wanted to make a difference, but I ended up feeling ashamed and like a failure. Your words inspired me. They came from the heart of God. He has been telling me to trust for months. It’s time to listen. So thank you for encouraging me.

    1. Praise the Lord!! God is so good!! That sounds like a great place to shine the light of Christ. I’ll pray for extra grace and strength for you as you follow the Lord’s lead there! Blessings! 🙂

  2. Annie, such a GOOD article!!! I am well-acquainted with the “self-inflicted” pressures of writing/ministering. God constantly has to remind me to be still, and let HIM be God!
    I love your quote- “My job is to put the time in studying, praying, and living out the things I teach. His job is everything else.” Yes and amen to that!

    Thanks for transparently sharing your heart with us!<3

    1. Thank you for those sweet words of encouragement Rachel, I truly appreciate them! God gets all the glory for every word! Blessings to ya! 🙂

  3. Great piece Annie! I had some of those moments earlier this week. Like a tidal wave that comes in and leaves us feeling swamped. Worry overshadows all the goo we have to be grateful for and causes us to waste energy on what may never take place. Such wasted time and upheaval. My favorite part of your piece is when you said to shift our thinking from what if’s to what is. Good word!

    1. It’s all a process of renewing our minds, reprogramming our responses, and reviving our heart of worship. We have to think on what is true about God, the situation, ourselves, our future, our purpose, and what is required of us in all that. In a nutshell that’s faith, obedience, love, and worship. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. 🙂

  4. The line about God’s track record being perfect really struck me. It’s so easy for me to forget that God uses all for good, and that we just need to let Him have control. Thanks for the inspiration this evening!

  5. Great article! I struggle with anxiety and I need to work on stopping saying “what if” and knowing that God can help make things happen if it’s meant to be. 🙂

  6. Hi Annie! I love the detailed way you handled this. And you’re right. A lot of worries are self-inflicted and while focussing on the what-ifs, we lose sight of or compromise what actually is. I love your emphasis on the faithfulness of God. If we can just remember that often, it will help set our hearts at rest.

  7. I love this! I definitely struggle with worry – sometimes to an unhealthy amount. But I know I can find freedom in God! Thanks for sharing this truth!

  8. Anxiety is like a slow puncture. It has nothing good to offer but only keeps one doing a lot of nothing since the what if’s occupy the mind most of the time. Surprisingly, God tells us to leave all our worries to Him, but our doubts seem to fight our belief in God.
    I thank God because I fought worry and somehow got over it; though it took quite some time. Thank you for this lovely article, you have nailed it.

    1. I’m so glad you’ve gotten victory in this area, praise God! Worry is a waste. At the root of it all is fear. Fear of failure, loss, judgment, lack etc. Faith drives out fear. The deeper our knowledge of God and what is true about him and his provision, protection, and presence, the stronger our faith. Thanks for your comment, Blessings!

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