Motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia once said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
When you look to the future are you overcome by hope and excitement or by a gripping worry of what might come and whether things will go your way?
Worry seems harmless at the moment, but the effects it brings can become a great stumbling block to living the lives God wants us to. Jesus captures the thought of worry in its best essence when He asked the question, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27)
Worry can create the illusion of being productive when in fact it adds no value to our life but instead takes from it.
Here are five ways that worry can become a burden and hindrance to godly living.
1. Worry Chokes Faith
Being overcome by worry is often congruent to being overtaken by fear and doubt. When the heart is in fear, it’s hard to trust in God’s faithfulness not because it degrades God’s faithfulness but because it negates our faith. Worry chokes faith and disallows us from trusting freely in God and His ways.
2. Worry Distracts Us From God’s Presence
Have you ever tried to worship God at church or in your home, but your mind was just too preoccupied with that nearing deadline or finance issue? That’s what worry does when unchecked: It distracts us from the still voice of God because we are too busy listening to the lies and deceptions of worry.
3. Worry Feeds Idols
At the heart of worry is idolatry—setting up functional saviours that we would trust over God. Those idols may include money, our job, connections, or even our own capacity and skills. The problem about idols is that they will fail us, and when we do, worry starts to creep in and get us to trust in idols more and more.
4. Worry Compromises Our Stewardship
Worry will almost always lead to a mismanagement of money and time. I have learned through seasons that the more I worry, the more stupid I become in handling finances and time. I waste a lot of money and a lot of time patching up worries that might not even ever happen.
5. Worry Puts Focus on Things That We Shouldn’t Be Focusing on
Where does your focus and attention lie on today? Jesus teaches us to fix our eyes and attention on seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness first, and only on “other things” after that. Worry gets that order mixed up and tells us that we need certain things to have God’s kingdom and righteousness, but that’s not true. God freely gives to those who seek Him and makes Himself known to those who focus on Him.