We have a lot of challenges in our world right now, and worry is one of the most prominent ones people deal with. I think it’s one of the worst because worrying about challenges doesn’t do much to resolve them, and most of the time it only makes them worse. Society is also showing us that worrying is dangerous, since anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, and one of the key ingredients in anxiety disorders is worry.
Living a life of worry has become so common, we’ve begun to consider it normal, even for believers. Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it should be accepted as normal. Not only has it become normal, but in some cases, it has become noble. If we don’t worry, we don’t care. We show our love for people by how much we worry about them. Whenever we encounter something we don’t understand, or we’re not sure how it’s going to be resolved, we worry.
This book is coming from a time in my life when I desperately wanted to understand what was happening and I let worry take over. We had moved our entire family to the Los Angeles area, only to have God tell us we were only to stay in our house for one year. This house had a field for our horse, another field for our cows, a backyard for the dogs, a seasonal creek running through it, and plenty of room for our kids to play. It was a dream come true for a family moving to LA with three kids and six animals. We didn’t understand at all why God would tell us to move. On top of that, the entire eleventh month living there, we were evacuated because of a devastating fire. We spent thirty-two days with three kids and lots of animals bouncing around from friend’s houses, to hotels, then Airbnbs, waiting for all the smoke damage to be cleaned up and power to get restored. When we finally returned, we had thirty days to figure out where to go before our lease ended. This normally would have been fairly easy to do, but because so many homes were destroyed, many of the rentals were being quickly snatched up before our eyes. The rentals that were still available were not their usual price, as landlords knew their renters would be covered by the insurance companies and rentals were priced astronomically higher. Clearly, it was a really bad time to have to move.
I’m usually pretty good at handling these types of things, because I’ve seen God come through at the last minute many times before, and for the most part, it was easy for me to stay pretty peaceful about it all. That is, until we moved out and had nowhere to go. We thought we found a new rental house that seemed like it would be great for our family, and we also had a couple signs that seemed to confirm this was the house God had for us. The only problem was they were looking at two other families, and neither of them had three large dogs to put in the backyard like we did. We had a rental truck full of our belongings and were waiting for a phone call from the landlord that we had been chosen. We had about six hours before we needed to return the rental truck, and it was either we get the house in an hour and move in, or we get a storage unit to put all our stuff in. We really did not want to unload in a storage unit only to load it back up later and move again; equally undesirable was the thought of living out of a hotel again.
I told my wife, Lauren, I felt like Joseph and Mary, thinking they would just get a room at the inn and have their baby, only to find out there was no room. For the first time in years, I began scrambling for peace in my mind and heart. I wasn’t doing well at all. I literally began to feel like I may need to be checked into a hospital. As this was happening, we were driving to get lunch, and I tried to explain to Lauren what was going on inside me. She said, “Let’s just go eat lunch and see what happens.”
I was so stressed out I could barely read the menu. We sat down to eat and some friends texted me. I told them we still hadn’t heard back from the landlord and only had a few minutes left before we would need to call a storage facility. I was only getting worse as I had absolutely no understanding as to why God was taking so long. He’d never been this last minute before, and I was doubting if even He had time to pull something off now. Thank God for friends! A minute later they wrote back and said they were going to start declaring that things would change and we would get the house we wanted. Ten seconds after that, another friend texted and said she just felt something shift in the spirit, and I should be ready to see the change in the natural.
As this was happening, I settled in my heart that I could be fine if we had to get a storage unit. I surrendered my need to understand. As soon as I did, I was peaceful. I had finally stopped interfering with the peace God was giving me. In that exact moment, we got an email telling us the house was ours!
We finished lunch, left the restaurant and went to the bank for a cashier’s check. We then drove to our new house and unloaded our things. A friend picked the kids up from school and brought them to their new home. It was really quite amazing.
Later that night, I realized I had let worry take over my mind and heart, and I didn’t want that to ever happen again. Since that day, I’ve been on this journey to learn to live in the place where I don’t worry about anything. What I’ve learned is now here in this book so we can journey together and learn the cure for worry.
The Bible addresses worry many times, with even Jesus Himself speaking strongly on it. We read things like “Don’t worry about anything,” (Philippians 4:6 NLT) and, “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:27 NKJV). Or, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear,” (Matthew 6:25 NIV). According to these passages, it seems like worry should be one of the last things we are willing to accept as a normal part of the Christian life.
I have good news about all of this. When Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 (NLT), “Don’t worry about anything,” he is first and foremost telling us it is possible to not worry. God doesn’t give us commandments that He doesn’t also give us the grace to accomplish. Believing this one truth is the first step into curing worry.