For far to many believers the worry cycle is an all to painful reality. Even for those who know to cast their cares on God, the familiar cycle of worry, prayer, peace… worry, prayer, peace… worry, prayer, peace… never seems to end.
Fortunately God provides a way for us to break the worry cycle and leave our worries behind for good.
In this episode:
- Letting It Go
- Stuck in the Worry Cycle
- God’s Way Out
assignment Full Transcript(Scroll for more)
In the last episode we talked about how hard it is for us as human beings to not think about things. In fact, if you listened to that episode you might still be craving a chocolate chip cookie.
Letting It Go
So how are we supposed to completely let go of worry when the way our brains are wired makes it nearly impossible to not think about those worries?
Paul gives us the answer there in chapter 4 of Philippians in the very next verse where he tells us what we should be thinking about.
You see, it’s true that not thinking about something is basically impossible. Therefore the thing to do is to think about something else instead.
You can’t just not think about your worries. Our brains aren’t meant to be empty. But by thinking about something good and positive instead of the negative stressing worries we can replace those toxic thoughts with something else more beneficial.
Jesus talked about that in Matthew 12:43-45.
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came. ’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
We can’t just remove the demonic, or the lies, from our souls. Our minds and our souls are incredibly powerful and were never intended to be empty.
When we push out lies and worry it is critical that we fill that space where those negative thoughts left with something positive. If we don’t then even more negative thoughts and worries will come rushing back in.
And when that happens we will be way worse off than before.
Stuck in the Worry Cycle
Unfortunately that’s exactly what happens a huge percentage of the time to so many people, even Christians.
They read those couple of verses in Philippians chapter 4 and think they’ve got the answer:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
When they find themselves worrying they pray and pass along those worries on to God. Then God’s peace comes over them just like the scripture promises it will.
At this point everything is great. If you’ve ever been there you know. We feel victorious. We know that it’s all going to be OK and even though everything may not be right in the world we have peace because we know that, in spite of the mess, God is going to work it all for our good in the end.
In that moment our worry leaves us.
But then the moment passes.
And when the moment does pass most times we find our selves even more wracked with worry than we were before we prayed. We didn’t expect that.
If we’re persistent we will probably go back to those two verses again, pray, and pass those worries along to God. Another good moment. That also passes.
It becomes a cycle of worry, prayer, peace. Worry, prayer, peace. Except the worries seem to get more and more troublesome. We’re more and more stressed out.
Instead of being victorious overcommers we’re stuck in this worry cycle that seems to get worse and worse. The real danger there is that it can be a point where people get seriously tempted to give up and think that Christianity doesn’t work.
What people fail to realize when this happens is that Jesus warned us about this very problem. It’s not something unexpected or weird that’s happening to us. It’s the result of the way God made us.
Yet because God made us that way he also shows us how to break that downward spiral and get free from the worry cycle once and for all. All it takes is reading the next verse or two further down in Philippians chapter 4 and the answer is there for us.
We just need to replace those negative thoughts we are worrying about with something better and more productive. This truth will set you free. And that’s exciting!
But I’m out of time for now so we’ll start exploring that in our next episode. Until then, Enjoy!