Many, if not most, people struggle with worry and anxiety-a sure sign that they are not pursuing peace with God. God tells us in His Word that worry and anxiety are peace-stealers-total wastes of energy that never produce good results.
Worry has many negative side effects, including draining our energy, making us grouchy and even bringing on sickness. Yet we continue to worry because we think we can solve our own problems if we dwell on them long enough.
Sometimes we worry because we are afraid things in our lives won't turn out the way we hope. Worry that results from fear is an indicator that we don't trust God.
Like most people, I resist things I don't like. One day the Lord said to me, “Joyce, learn to take life as it comes.” I believe this is a lesson for all of us. God wasn't telling me to lie down and become a doormat for the devil and people who would abuse me; what He was saying was that I needed to stop fighting the things I could do nothing about.
If we are traveling somewhere and suddenly find ourselves in heavy traffic due to an accident or bad weather, it doesn't do any good to resist it. Only time or God's supernatural intervention will change the situation. Why not relax and try to find some way to enjoy the time?
God has equipped us to handle life as it comes, but if we spend today worrying about tomorrow, we will become tired and frustrated. Each day has enough for us to consider, so we don't need to anticipate tomorrow's situations while we are still trying to live out today's.
Jesus said, “Do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble” (Matt.6:34, The Amplified Bible). This is good advice for those who allow worries to steal their peace.
Worrying adds to the problem rather than solving it. Most of the things we worry about are solved in time. Somehow an answer comes, and we realize that all the time we spent worrying was a total waste.
I believe that worry is rooted in selfishness, just like so many other sins. Worry is a sin because it is not faith, and Romans 14:23 states that “whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin.”
Usually when we worry, our concern comes from our fear of what people will think of us, what people will say about us, what will happen to us or what we are going to do. Sometimes we worry about other people and what they will do or what may happen to them.
But we can do less about them than we can about ourselves. If we can't control our own destinies, how can we hope to control someone else's?
There is always something we could worry about; we must consciously choose not to. Peace and worry do not cohabit, so if you intend to enjoy a life of peace, worry is one thing you will have to give up.
It is God's will that we live our lives free from all anxiety and distressing care. He wants us to be free to serve Him without being “drawn in diverging directions” (1 Cor. 7:34). We must not allow the worries of this world to divert us from His purpose for our lives.
Seeking to keep our lives as simple as possible will help us have fewer temptations to worry. The more we are involved in, the more we have to be concerned about.
For many years I wanted to be in on everything, but now I would much rather have peace. I have learned that keeping life as simple as possible brings peace and frees me to better serve the Lord.
The only solution to worry is total abandonment to God and His plan. Even when unpleasant things happen, He can make them work out for good. So I encourage you to enjoy the peace of God that comes from keeping your life simple, trusting God and taking life as it comes.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, Battlefield of the Mind Devotional (all Warner Faith). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide.