Worry is a good starting place

| January 31, 2011 | 0 Comments


Some time back a middle-aged woman named Rebecca came to my office for a talk. My mother would have called her a “worrywart.” Rebecca had turned worrying into an art form; She worried about her health, about her kids, about her parents, about her finances, about losing her job, about friends rejecting her, and about God abandoning her. When she ran out of pressing topics, she worried that she worried too much. So, she sat in my office posing as a worthy worrier, daring me to fix her.

After recounting all her apprehensions, she concluded, “I’m worried that you will tell me it’s hopeless, that I have some incurable disorder or syndrome.”

I thought about responding with some made-up, incurable disease. But this was not the time.

I thought about assigning her the task of limiting her worries to only one room. Then, when she got used to that, limiting her worries to only a certain time of the day and only in that room. But that wasn’t what she needed.

Rebecca needed candid re-thinking.

I asked, “Are you a Christian?”

“Why yes, you know I am,” she responded.

“Well, you’re not acting like it.”

“What? I love God. I read the Bible. I love church. How dare you suggest that I’m not a Christian.”

“Christians trust God and they show people what that looks like. Your worry-filled lifestyle doesn’t show much trust. Or maybe your God is too small, too puny for your giant worries.”

“Not, my God. He’s got all the power.”

“You know the words,” Rebecca, “but you don’t really know the God who spoke them. Your constant worrying is keeping the focus on you and how big the worries are, you’ve never really unloaded them on God, have you?”

She didn’t respond.

He wants to hear us talk of our struggles and trust him for the future.  Worry is the conversation starter, trust is the end game, but there is lots of talk in-between.

Worry is meant to lead us to “holy ground.” God wants our worries to bring us into his presence. He wants to hear about our fears and doubts and misgivings. He wants us to unpack what’s stuffed and stored in the hidden places of the heart.

Paul tried candid re-think on the Philippians, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6


She stared for a moment at her name tag: Hope: Waitress, IHOP. What was she going to do?

She was already exhausted; last night had been another of those long sleepless nights. This one was worse than most; twice during the night she had seriously thought of ending the pain. But, she didn’t do it. Like so many times before, she laid awake worrying about the house payment, the bills, the car, her husband, and everything else. It was hopeless.

She pinned on the name tag and headed to the corner booth where two older gentlemen were settling-in, waiting for breakfast.

“Welcome to IHOP,” she said, “my name is Hope, I’ll be your server.”

“Hope, what a great name you have,” said the talkative man.

“Not much hope here,” she responded without thinking.

The two men ordered breakfast and Hope returned with coffee, the talkative one asked, “Hope, you said there isn’t much hope here, what did you mean?”

Surprised by his question she pretended she didn’t hear. But when their eye’s met, she somehow felt safe; safe enough to put the carafe down and confessed her misery. All her bottled up worries and frustrations came pouring out.

It only took a couple minutes for the gentlemen to sense the depth of her despair. Again, the talkative one spoke, “Can we pray for you, right now?”

“Pray! What can God do about this, we don’t go to church and we don’t talk to him much, I don’t think he cares much about me at all.”

Then came the shock! “Sure he does; I’m here,” said you-know-who.

“What do you mean?”

“I’m his rep, he sent me here today to bring you a little hope.” Then he prayed, anyway.

She smiled and walked away. Before they left the two men pooled their money and left her a $100 tip. On the way out he said, “Hope, there will be more of us. They will ask for you and when they leave, you will be blessed with more than you expect.”

That day, Hope was introduced to a really big God.

No matter how bad it is, or how hopeless it seems, God wants to hear our voice and occasionally he appoints us to be his rep.


Repeat these words, “God is bigger than my worries. I’m going to tell him everything, and trust him more.”

It’s time to show people how to trust. When we listen, really listen to the despair around us, when we look into the eyes of strangers, and when we open our mouths and speak for God. God gets bigger and our personal bag of worries gets smaller.

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Category: Faith Notes

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