Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
One morning during my prayer time, I heard His still, small voice. He simply said, “Don’t worry.”
Being a good believer I told our Father I wasn’t worrying. He lovingly corrected me and started showing me all the things I was actually worrying about. Things I was sure I had left for Him to deal with. But in fact my mind was still churning, trying to figure out how I was going to solve these problems and make the plans work.
The Effects Of Stress
The first thing we should acknowledge is that all stress is not bad. We were made by a wise Creator to deal with stress and have systems to manage the stress we experience on a case-by-case basis. We call it the flight or fight response. The problem is when we are chronically stressed. This type of long-term stress creates negative impacts to our health, productivity, and relationships.
Are You Anxious?
As I look back I realize I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I really believed I wasn’t stressed. That’s most of us. We have been carrying so much stress over the years that when the stress level drops, we believe we don’t have any stress. I decided to look up the definition of anxious and here’s what I found:
“Experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.”
Once I read this, I realized I was a worrier! I also realized this showed I was not doing a good job of trusting God. Think about it: Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33–34 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
After looking through this scripture I realized I worried a lot.
- How are we doing in ministry?
- What do I need to do to make our business grow?
- How am I going to take care of my family?
- Am I pleasing God?
I could go on and on about all the little things I obsessed and worried about. I thought I had it beat, but I wasn’t even in the game.
A New Attitude
So now I have this information, of course the first thing I did was worry about how to stop worrying! He showed me I had conditioned myself to immediately make everything MY problem, when many times our Father brings something to our attention so HE can resolve it for us. Let that thought sit for a few minutes!
First I had to repent for trying to do His job. Next I had to hand over everything to Him. I let my worries become His responsibility. Don’t call Him the Lord of your life if you don’t mean it. I adopted II Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” He brings the promises to and through us, not me.
And finally I had to check my attitude. I was so comfortable owning the problems as opposed to trusting Him. Now this didn’t take away any of the problems I face, but it does—as James the Apostle said—teach me how to become patient. I am still a work in progress, but doing so much better than before.
About James R. Cooper
James R. Cooper is a Business Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Maxser Consulting Group, LLC, Pastor of Restoration International Christian Ministries and author of From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development. James is on the board of several non-profit organizations and is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. For more information about James, book him to speak at your next event, seminar, or workshop, go to www.fromcrackers2caviar.com or www.maxsergroup.com.