Pastors: Stop Telling Me Not To Worry!

We have all heard the term, “easier said than done.” The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that us “less difficult to talk about than to do.” Yet it appears a good portion of effort by preachers is always devoted to telling us “not to worry.”

What does it really mean to us when a minister tells us not to worry? Indeed, even Christ tells us not to worry. (Mat 6:25) I honestly wish that it were easier to do. Is there a difference between hearing it from Christ and hearing it from a minister?

I must admit, for myself yes, it somewhat is. That said, I worry every single day about myriad of things and concerns. Though consider this. I never go out of my way to worry about something. Of course, that doesn’t mean much.

For many years now I have suffered severely from insomnia as well as sleep apnea. I recall laying it out quite simply for my doctor at the time, that “my brain just won’t shut down at the end of the night.” In fact, as soon as my head hits the pillow and my eyes close, my brain seems to go into hyper-drive and wishes to work on through the night.

Telling someone not to worry is akin to telling them not to think about bears while reading “Winnie the Pooh,” or not thinking about coffee in the morning while it’s precious smell permeates through your local Starbucks.

Now, two things help me to somewhat not worry. Prayer, and my inability to change things. While it has taken me decades (and still learning) to learn not to worry about things I cannot change, I have literally found that prayer is the best defense against worry.

I’d like to say I’m perfect and do this every single night, I can’t. I do, however, make a concerted effort to do this. Now, I’m not referring to traditional “bedtime prayers.” When I lay down to in bed, I endeavor to pray myself to sleep.

Some of us might remember the psychological test of learning the best way to change your thoughts watching television. If we’re watching a television show and then turn off the television, what would likely be foremost on your mind immediately following? It is said, that the wiser thing to do is to change the channel. In other words, fill your mind/thoughts with something else.

Since, in my own situation, I can’t seem to shut down my brain at night, my only alternative is to fill it with something else. I fill it with prayer. Yes, my prayer includes asking God to let me sleep. I ask God to carry away my worries, my troubles, my anxiety, my negative thoughts, and hold them away from me so I can rest in His peace. And just to be safe, I also pray that he will wake me up later.

On most occasions, it takes me anywhere from one to two hours to fall asleep. Praying myself to sleep can take a while, but it indeed helps. It certainly keeps my focus on Him instead of on the many thoughts that can rush through my mind.

Someone will say that I can’t be seriously praying if I’m lying in bed trying to go to sleep. Be that as it may, I’m not one who subscribes to the idea that prayers can only be made while on bent knees. These days, with my bad knee, kneeling to pray doesn’t come easily. I take this nighttime prayer to fall asleep by very seriously. I can talk to God anywhere I want.

I try each night to thank God for all His blessings. I thank Him for all the people He’s put in my life and along my path. (to help me remain right or get me back to being on the right path). I pray for people I know who are suffering from illnesses.

I try to pray for people I don’t know. Occasionally, on Facebook, someone will post “prayer requests.” I work hard to try to remember them and their requests in my prayers. I even pray that God will improve my memory. I’ve mentioned in previous articles, that I was in the wrong line when God was giving out the gift of good memory.  I must work twice as hard to remember things.

So here then is my solution to worrying. Pray. Pray constantly. Fill your mind with God, with Jesus. Stop trying to change your thoughts by turning off the television. Change the channel. Fill your thoughts, your mind with that which is from above. (Colossians 3:2 NASB)

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)

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