By age 12, I was a certified worrywart. One lazy summer afternoon, I found this cool silver arrowhead necklace in my Mom's jewelry box. I went outside to play with my siblings, and, within 20 minutes, somehow it fell off my neck. I was so enamored with the thing and frustrated for losing it so quickly, I searched the dense grass for at least an hour in the Texas heat to absolutely no avail. I was in tears, worried sick over a necklace. Mom, if you're reading this, sorry I lost your jewelry, 'cause it sure was fly... and I shouldn't have been wearing it!
I used to worry about every little thing under the sun. Did the boy I had a crush on in 6th grade like me back? Oh, he's so cute and cool -- dag, what if I trip in front of him?! Will I live to see 16? Aw man... what will I do if I get kicked out of college because of my grades? I cannot go back to West Texas. And what will my parents think? If I lose this job, I could end up homeless. How are we going to pay this bill, and what about this stupid-high interest rate?
All of those thoughts above actually did take up residence in my head. But did all my worrying change anything?
Nope. The boy I was crushing on didn't know I was alive (and he's really not so cute anymore in his 30s). If I tripped in front of him, I don't remember it. I lived well past the age of 16. I came dangerously close to getting kicked out of UT my freshman year, but a class about "how to study" and another on speed-reading actually improved my grades dramatically. My parents found out about my low GPA, but they encouraged me to stick with the program. I didn't lose my job and even when times got rough I had a place to live. The bills are getting paid, and in less than a year we paid off our highest-interest consumer loan. Praise God!
So I've learned it profits me nothing to be a worrywart. In fact, it's harmful to my health -- impacting sleep patterns, weight, eating habits, and work performance. When I worry, my focus is no longer on the Sovereign God, but solely on my problem. This is not a knock against those who have a medically- or psychologically-diagnosed anxiety issue (such as OCD), but sometimes we are dealing with spiritual problems, so a spiritual solution is -- at the very least -- worth exploring.
Now, this does not mean we should walk around with no cares whatsoever. A normal level of anxiety can be helpful. For example, nervousness about an upcoming job interview or assignment can actually help us prepare to do our best.
God really is in control and we don't have to wear the "worrywart" label. Even if things do not always turn out as planned, in every situation there is an opportunity for growth and character-building. This doesn't mean we will NEVER worry, but it does mean we don't have to be consumed or defined by worry. We can cast the label aside.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28, KJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - Jeremiah 29:11, KJV
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. - Romans 5:1-5, KJV
This is a looooong post, but if it helps even one person, then I believe it's worth it.