letting go and holding tight: a fight for control, the struggle is real, so is God

When the waters of worry threaten to drown you, cling to these Bible verses.

Nothing threatens to drown my heart like worry. If allowed, it will consume every thought and spawn illogical fear.

When thinking about verses of scripture on which to focus when my heart is drowning in worry, several immediately come to mind: Do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6), who can add one hour to their life by worrying (Luke 12:25), or do not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

These verses have saved me from slipping into the waters of worry. When I’m standing on the edge, they help keep my feet planted firmly as the waters rise. Meditating on these precious words force the worry to recede and help me turn and walk on dry ground.

Sometimes, though, I am already chest deep in the waters of worry when these verses come to mind. In those situations, their words are more like waves slapping me in the face telling me not to drown though I’m already struggling to keep my head above the water. In such times, verses telling me not to worry are only reminders that I am already failing, drowning in the deep waters of worry.

I don’t need the waves to remind me not to drown, I need a life preserver. I need something to cling to and keep me afloat when the currents are pulling me down. Deep below the surface of worry is a lack of trust. And when I’m drowning in it, I need something that can rescue me. Something deserving of my trust, to hold onto, and to pull me back onto dry land.

 

I know about the waters of worry because I’ve been in them. When I was contemplating quitting my teaching job, my heart nearly drowned. I felt God telling me again and again to give up my classroom, but I worried about giving up my paycheck. How we could we possibly survive on one income? My worry was a result of trusting in my ability to help provide for my family. I trusted in the stability of my income. I lacked trust in the stability of an amazing God. I didn’t trust that the God who created the universe in seven days, parted the Red Sea, closed the mouths of lions for Daniel, and delivered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo from the fiery furnace could provide financial opportunities and support for my family. Sure, He could do all of those miraculous things, but keep my family financially secure without my help? Worry told me no. That’s what worry does. It ignores the truth of God’s promises and indulges in the what ifs.

So… if worry is a lack of trust, the remedy is to examine the scriptural truth about the trustworthiness of God.

When we’re drowning in a sea of worry, we must search for the life preserver and trust the One who has thrown it to us.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Your God is with you on the dry land of confidence and the waters of worry. The next step you fear taking? God’s already there. The what ifs that cause your heart to question? He has the answers. Focus your heart on the presence of God and let it breathe strength and courage into you. Cling to Him as the tide of worry rises; He is there.

 

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” Psalm 13:5

I might not trust in one income, but I trust in Your unfailing love. I might not trust my health, but I trust in Your unfailing love. I might not trust that I will have a job, but I trust in Your unfailing love. I might not trust that my loved one will survive, but I trust in Your unfailing love. No matter what has triggered your worry, be assured that you can trust in God’s unfailing love. As His love fills your heart, the waters of worry recede and rejoicing takes its place.

 

“O Lord of hosts blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:12

In the middle of the waters, reach out in trust, grab hold of the life preserver God offers, and watch Him pull you to dry land where the worry fades and blessings abound for those who trust in Him. Watch the cause of your worry transform into evidence of God’s work in your life.

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