Giving Your Worries to God

by Linus Mundy

“I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let God.”

I came upon those words at the bottom of the last pile of psychology and religion and self-help books I was go­ing to consult. I came upon them behind the door of the last doctor’s office I could force myself to visit. I came upon them on the lips of the umpteenth caring friend I was going to unload on. In the end, I’m sorry to admit, those words were everywhere—but I had to be desperate to see and really hear them.

The fact that you are reading this CareNote may mean that you, too, are desperate. Maybe you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job, or your spouse, your leg, your house.

Working Your Way Through. There’s another neat saying I came across during my marathon search for THE answer to my anxieties: “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t really get you anywhere.” It’s easy to see the truth in that saying. And yet it’s also easy to give in to our natural tendencies to keep on worrying.

So what is an answer that can “get you somewhere” in tackling your worries? I suggest it may be the same three-part answer which brought me peace in all my turmoil: “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let God.” Let’s look at and “test” each part of this message for your particular situation:

Say “I can’t” — but make sure it’s true that you can’t. We’ve all heard the expressions “God helps those who help themselves” and “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Well, sometimes the tough can’t get going; sometimes we can’t help ourselves. Often, purely human resources are totally inadequate.

Sometimes I think we don’t know the difference between not being able to do something and not wanting to do something. I’ve always been good at that: “But I can’t go to the dentist.” (Meaning: “I’m a chicken; I don’t want to get hurt.”) “Why go to a counselor? I know what he’ll tell me anyway.” (Meaning: “He’s going to tell me to change something—and that’s too hard.”) “There’s nothing I can do for my dying mother; after all, I can’t die for her.” (Meaning: “I’m afraid to die with her.”)

So go ahead and say, “I can’t,” but only when it’s true.

Say “God can”—and be­lieve it. A friend was telling me she helped out at a kids’ summer camp a few years ago. After rounding up the troops for the night, she told them: “Let’s go to sleep and put all our cares into God’s hands.” “Yeah,” said one of the kids, “He’s up all night anyway.”

Do we believe God is “up all night”—guarding and protecting us?

Well, I, for one, have been sorely disappointed—and I’ll just bet you have, too. In the many months my father was suffering so terribly, I was yelling at God to take my dad and put an end to his misery. I remember getting particularly angry at the “Come to me, all you who are burdened” and the “Knock and it shall be opened” sayings of Christ. They just weren’t true for me.

But then, after a while, they became true. The per­spective of time showed me doors opening, burdens lifting, miracles abounding. They weren’t part­ing-of-the-Red-Sea miracles, though; they were better. They were personal!

God doesn’t give us everything—only that which is important. When the diagnosis we get is the one we worried about, God won’t change it and switch the X-rays with someone else’s. But God will supply the strength to help us move purposefully toward beating the verdict—or accepting it.

Say “I think I’ll let God”—including the God within you. “Letting God” has a lot to do with letting go. And some of the guys who do this best are monks. Two central goals of monasticism are dying to self and letting go of attachments.

In a culture that tells us to treasure things, it’s difficult to detach. But it’s necessary and it’s right. It’s taking the advice of Jesus, who tells us again and again to look beyond this temporary world to the eternal values that really matter.

The key is to admit to both of the natures we possess: human and divine. We are individuals cooperating with each other in community—and with the God within us. We are in a partnership, striking a balance in our reliance on God, on each other, and on self.

Using this partnership approach to anxieties, we may eventually move to a level of trust never known before.

Take heart. That, in essence, is the final suggestion: Keep giving your worries to God. Not a simple feat, by any means. But a lifelong, daily challenge God puts before us and helps us take up.

Excerpt taken from Giving Your Worries to God CareNote.

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