You have the power to become the captor of worry. And worry (anxiety, stress, fear) has likely worked very diligently to convince you otherwise. Worry, once it latches on, not only consumes our thoughts but tends to introduce us to new fears we’d never considered.
Make no mistake, worry is powerful. It can make us feel like there’s no way out from under its canopy of fear. But feelings are not absolute truths. They are transitory experiences. And, in order to become the captor and not the captive, we must study the concept of worry from a logical and spiritual perspective. We must step outside of our feelings and expose worry’s Achille’s heel.
Worry is always a foe, never a friend.
Worry distorts reality. It steals contentment. It threatens our ability to trust in a future that is bright and good. It holds our minds captive with incessant thoughts that, when left to roam freely, snowball out of control.
Worry is the manifestation of our desire to control and predict the future. It’s almost magical in that way. If we can just think about it long enough, hope for it hard enough, worry about it enough, it’s got to go our way, doesn’t it?
Worry is an enemy that hijacks our thoughts and kidnaps our contentment, without giving a second thought to asking for ransom. No, worry gets joy and thrives when we suffer.
When you’re in the middle of worry, it can seem impossible to cope, to get out of it. If you’re honest, it can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of doubt. That’s how worry and anxiety keep you captive and make you feel helpless or hopeless.
Capturing worry is not just possible, it’s a promise.
Here’s where the story changes, where the villain of worry gets put in its place. You are the captor. You have the power to place worry in its dark, useless, rightful place.
Worry knows it is a powerless enemy. Worry just wants to keep you distracted from the fact that it is a peddler of empty threats. Worry “worries” that you will discover this truth. That you will realize you don’t have to succumb to it, nor be its prisoner.
Our expectations can keep us from manifesting our seat of authority over worry. Often, Christians make the mistake of believing they aren’t supposed to experience anxiety or worry. That, if it befalls them, well then, they must not be a “good enough” Christian. Worry, anxiety, and fear go hand in hand with living in a fallen world.
Worry will be lurking around until the new heaven appears and we are instantly made like Christ. It will scream, hiss, or even whisper to you from time to time, reminding you that it is there. Waiting for you to take it upon its empty promises of control. Looking for its way back into the captor’s seat.
So, how can you be the captor if you know worry will always be prowling about? You expect it. You prepare for it. You gird yourself with the truth – God’s truth – to put it in its place and, you refuse to believe that worry is reserved for those who don’t believe in God.
No, worry, is an enemy that has no preference for whom it attacks (and it’s entirely possible that worry attacks believers even more so than the faithless). The difference for you as a believer? You have weapons to fight back and conquer.
Worry wants you to believe you are in control.
The future is always uncertain. We don’t own it. We don’t write it. We cannot predict it. That’s God’s sovereign domain. Our egos, however, convince us the future feels uncertain. So, we worry. It’s a frantic and futile attempt to obtain control we simply don’t have. Luke 12:25 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”
It’s when the unexpected happens that our feelings of security are shaken, opening the door for worry to jam in its foot and weasel its way back in, convincing you that worry is the way to regain control. Worry, regardless of its vexing nature, is the key to regaining a sense of confidence about your future, or so we begin to believe.
Worry is an enemy because it is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). Worry is an enemy of God’s truth and an enemy of YOU because it serves to convince you that you have power over your future and distracts you from the truth of your creator’s plans for, and absolute sovereignty over, your life.
It takes your attention away from the God who does not miss even one sparrow falling to the ground (Matthew 10:29), much less YOU, His treasured creation. It is this God who holds your future.
Imagine the freedom you would experience if you lived your life in a free fall, knowing that your parachute is crafted by the Maker of the universe, the same God who spoke the raging seas into existence and calms them with a single word. As believers, we are encouraged and instructed to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). That means to measure what you are thinking (and being tempted to believe) against the truth of God’s word.
Map out your rules of engagement.
How do you stop worrying? How do we “deal with anxiety?” The truth is that you have no control over the uninvited thoughts that come into your head. However, you must exercise control over what you do with those thoughts. That’s you, stepping into the captor’s position. Accepting that responsibility and girding yourself for the fight without shrinking back into the lie that you have no control over your anxiety.
When worry knocks, you’re presented with a couple of options. Embrace the thought, mull it over, and begin to believe it or step outside of the thought and evaluate its veracity by the only measure of truth, God’s word.
One success strategy to implement right away is to compare and contrast your worries with God’s truth. Write down your worries on one side of a piece of paper. Now, test them. Take them captive. To the right of each worry you’ve listed, ask yourself: What does God say about worry?
If you don’t know or cannot find the answer on your own, ask a trusted friend, your pastor, or even a Christian counselor. Getting your worries outside of your head and onto paper is a brilliant way of getting them outof your head. It levels the battlefield and allows you to objectively strategize.
These thoughts don’t have to hold you captive. You see, you have a weapon sharper than a two-edged sword that is able to discern the truth. Use it. Which matters more to you? The thoughts from the enemy of worry or the truth of God’s word?
Popular culture suggests we speak our truth and that it’s the most powerful voice. Here’s the problem with that. Our truth is faulty. Let’s take it all the way back to the original sin. The offer of control, the temptation that you can trust in your knowledge and you can control your future was presented to Eve.
The truth Adam and Eve had been told but began to question was that if you eat of this tree, you will surely die. The enemy (the devil in this case) made them start questioning the truth they were told and convinced them to rely on their own reasoning.
Don’t we do the same thing every time we open the door to an uninvited worry? Before we realize it, we are attempting to reason with the worry, bargain with it even. Then we find ourselves captive to the lies worry and anxiety. It’s in those moments where it’s hard to hear the truth.
We have to prepare for these moments by studying the truth of God’s word, by addressing our specific worries with scripture. A simple prayer for you to pray is, “Hide thy Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
Anxiety and depression are inextricably linked. In fact, Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of mean causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” Our attempts to control our future, fueled by the captor of worry, lead us down a path that dead-ends in futility.
We realize we have no control and rather than returning our trust to that same God who breathed man into existence, we become hopeless, depressed, at the realization that we have zero control.
Worry is an attempt to gain control. It is ultimately a lie. Control is impossible. Our future is not ours. What would happen if you stepped out of the prison of worry? How would your sense of peace and overall well-being change if you began trusting your Creator and Fashioner to give you the abundant life He promised to you?
Isn’t that so much more inviting than staying trapped in a prison of anxiety that will never be able to serve you and give you the peace and quiet your mind desperately craves, and God desperately desires for you?
In case you’ve already been distracted by another worry, remember that you have the power to become the captor of worry. Will you accept it?
“Frustrated,” Courtesy of Christian Erfurt, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Inside Looking Out”, Courtesy of Sasha Freemind, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Who is it?”, Courtesy of Talles Alves, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Flowers of the Field”, Courtesy of Kien Do, Unsplash.com, CC0 License