Devotionals

The Worry Habit

Written by Linda Washington

Thought for the day: Worry is a habit we can overcome through the power of the Holy Spirit.  

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (NRSV) 

I’m a worrier. Whenever I feel sad, afraid, or overwhelmed, anxious thoughts tumble over and over in my mind, like clothes in a dryer. Even after praying, I still worry over problems. 

Recently, worry escalated when my niece began to have epileptic seizures out of the blue. I felt cold all over when my brother texted me these words: unresponsive . . . at hospital. Thankfully, he’d been home when she had a seizure. He’d called 911 and off they went to the hospital. 

She was released when the doctors couldn’t find any reason for the seizure. Everything was good, right? I didn’t have to worry about her any more, right? Wrong. A week later, she had another seizure, which required a hospital stay.  

As you can imagine my worry meter was off the charts. Even after my niece received excellent care at the hospital and was released, I still worried to the point of sleeplessness.  

After praying about it, I realized that my constant state of worry showed my belief that problems were bigger than God’s ability to handle them. I needed to be transformed. This brings to mind Paul’s advice in Romans 12:2: “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Sounds impossible, especially if I have to do it on my own. But I don’t. God can help me to change.  

Recently, I took the first steps toward that change:

(1) Admitting that I wrongfully chose worry over trust in God; 

(2) Asking God to forgive me and help me change. That’s part of being a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) – putting wrongful habits to death. I want to be a prayer warrior, instead of a worrier. 

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. I need to “persevere in prayer” as Paul suggests in Romans 12:12, seeking God for help whenever I’m tempted to worry. I also need the truth of God’s promises to “hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9), instead of to worried thoughts. They also remind me to “rejoice in hope” and be “patient in affliction” (Romans 12:12). 

Prayer:

Lord, forgive me for the time I wasted worrying. You are bigger than the biggest problem I will ever face. I’m grateful that I can always count on you. You are my helper, the One who will never forsake me, as Hebrews 13:5-6 tells me.  

Delve deeper:

Got a worry habit? Allow God to transform you “by the renewing of your mind.” Instead of letting worried thoughts tumble over and over, consider Paul’s advice in Philippians 4:8: “[W]hatever is true, whatever is honorable . . . think about these things.”  

About the author:

Linda Washington received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has worn many hats: textbook editor, senior project writer, manuscript reviewer for several publishers, ghostwriter, and a freelance developmental editor. She has authored or co-authored fiction and nonfiction books for kids, teens, and adults.

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