It was my second year on campus (if I remember correctly) when I walked into a sister’s room and saw a sticker with this inscription, on the wall . . .
“Why Pray when you can Worry?”
I don’t know whether you read that well (read it again) . . . but no, I didn’t make a mistake. That was what I saw and it troubled me for some time. I wondered if they didn’t make a mistake. In my mind, it would have made sense if it read “Why worry when you can pray?” Yes, there is no need to keep worrying, when you should be praying. That was simple to understand – anytime you’re tempted to worry, instead of worrying, just pray – why should you worry, when you can pray?
But this time around, this was not what I saw. So for weeks and maybe months, every time I entered that room I kept seeing this on the wall and kept thinking about what it could mean.
Do you want to worry?
1. Envisage and assume the negative things. This is a great tip and the major cause of most worries. Worry begins when I assume the negative. It begins when I assume that exam will be very difficult and I will likely fail it. Worry begins when I think about the week ahead, and assume I won’t cope with the workload. I begin to entertain worry when I think about my unsaved parents & colleagues and conclude they will die without Christ and go to hell. I set the stage for worry when I think about going home during the break and imagine how I will give in to temptation and fall into sin when I see my old friends . . .
Antidote: Many of the negative things that flood your mind are only assumptions and open cheques, don’t entertain nor sign them!
2. Forget God’s promises. God has a promise in the bible, for every situation in our lives. Most times when we worry, we have forgotten (or do not know) God’s word concerning that issue. There is only one place to find the truth about a matter, that’s in the bible. What you feel, what you think, what your friends said, what the doctor said, what the teacher said may only be a fact… It is not the truth until you consult He that is “the way, the truth and the life“!
Antidote: Search for and recall God’s word on every matter. That’s your weapon to fight worry!
3. Dwell & think on the wrong things. This is what really brings the worry. Sometimes, the wrong (negative) thoughts come to your mind, but if you remember quickly what God has said about you and you refuse to dwell on the wrong issues, you’ll not end up getting worried.
But if after you have done your best studying, and you begin to feel like you will fail. If you entertain that thought and begin to think about how you will enter the exam hall and not be able to answer even one question and how you will only get 25% and not even qualify for a supplementary or a make-up exam. If you continue to think about how that means failure and means you will have to take it again next year and how it means you will have more modules to take the next time and… and… and… and… That is what leads to worry. And worry leads to fear and fear has torment!
Antidote: “you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true [from the bible], noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise [God for], not things to curse”. (Phil 4:8, MSG, parenthesis mine).
So why Pray, when you can worry?
There are two things you can do – Worry or Pray. So if you have chosen to pray, why do you then still worry? If your choice was to spend some time to pray about the issue, don’t trouble yourself worrying about the issue again.
But if you knew you would worry, why did you pray in the first place? Why spend time praying, when you had the power to worry and really wanted to worry? If what you really want to do is to worry, then worry and don’t bother praying! Why would I pray, and then return to worry after the prayers? Why would I pray and still worry? Why Pray, when you can worry?
Don’t worry… Instead PRAY!
Okay… So don’t worry, instead, pray!
Phil 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, Pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers”.
Without trying to sound religious, the best antidote to worry and anxiety is prayer! That is the bible recommendation, that has been my practical experience. Worry only survived in my heart for as long as I didn’t pray about it. Sincere prayer has a way of distilling all worries if you commit every issue to God. So do you want to pray? Yes… Pray! All you needed to do about that issue was simply to pray.
The next time those wrong thoughts begin to flood your mind, don’t dwell on it, instead, pray about it. The next time you’re about to do something and your mind wanders in the wrong direction, don’t allow it . . . Simply, Pray about it and commit it to God’s hand and you will experience his peace in you.
Have you continued to worry, even after you have prayed?