To play out the “might happens” and “what ifs” time and again. To be consumed and strangled by thoughts of things that may never happen. To trade present joy for fearful, future, thoughts thus missing out on today.
These are the thoughts and feelings that I have when I worry, when I give into and become consumed by anxious thoughts.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruler, against the powers, against the world forces of the darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” - Ephesians 6:12
Fighting against the spiritual forces of wickedness or evil. No wonder it’s so hard to fight against worry. Worry isn’t something that can be grasped and thrown away. It can’t be physically removed. It is a battle of the mind, where all sin starts, where Satan can hit the hardest, where he can create an entire world of false “truth” that affects our physical actions and our lives. This in turn ripples out and affects not only our lives but the lives and relationships of those around us. Tragically, the ones we love most end up getting the brunt of our false truth, our alternate reality.
Worry is a sin and worry brings more sin.
When Robert and I were first married, engaged, and even before then, I battled intense jealousy. Looking back on that season, it’s hard for me to believe that it was ever an issue, but in the midst of it I was consumed. I was in bondage. Thankfully, because of Jesus, jealously is no longer a struggle for me, but worry tends to manifest itself in different ways at different times. I have struggled and fought against many things since then. Some I remember well and others I don’t, but I’ve noticed a common theme with all of the issues I’ve battled, three things at the core of all of this worry: control, discontentment, and pride. I want to control anything and everything. I am discontent about what the Lord has given or what He hasn’t. I am prideful because in all of my efforts to control while simultaneously living in discontentment I am thinking only of myself. Whether I am thinking highly of myself or badly about myself, I am still thinking of self and that is a twisted, prideful tangle.
The truth is, I control nothing; my control is an illusion. Jesus is the Blessed Controller over all things. The truth is I struggle to be content with what the Lord has blessed me with and too often focus on what I wish I had. The truth is I am discontent with the difficult things that don’t feel like blessings or gifts. I struggle with being content in knowing that all things come from God, the lovely and the mess, the beauty and the broken. The truth is I do struggle with being prideful. I am human. I am sinful. We all are. But the greatest truth is that Jesus has defeated all of these things for me, for us. Our hope is in a Savior whose death on the cross was and is enough to crush every anxiety, worry, or concern. It is enough to squelch every obsession and consuming thought. His death and, more importantly, His resurrection is enough. We must believe, we must have faith. Faith is the very opposite of worry.
We have to fight to be victorious. We call on the name of Jesus and cry out to Him to help us. We speak His name and His word in the face of anxiety and worry. Some days we cry out every hour, every minute, every second. Other days are a little easier, but we call on Him still. The Holy Spirit will fight for us when we call on Him, and at the name of Jesus, Satan must flee. Jesus is already victorious and we will overcome and conquer because of Him! So today, today we fight!