Why do we worry?

We live as individuals but share in the human experience. This post series asks the core questions of what, why, and how about this shared experience. After all, God came to earth as a human himself, to share that experience with us and bring us salvation through that human experience. So, join us today as we explore the core question… why do we worry?

Worry is a natural human response

Do you remember what happened in the Garden of Eden? Satan successfully tempted Eve and Adam to eat the fruit that God had forbidden. They ate, against God’s commands. and immediately responded with shame, fear, and worry.

Here we see the root of worry in the lives of all humans.

We worry because we seek a higher level of control than God gives us.

A situation presents itself to us, and we have a very strong desire for a specific outcome, and thus… we worry. We may worry about the situation itself, about our response, or about the outcome, but this desire to control the situation is often why we are worrying.

  • We worry about our kids’ decision-making, because we know that we cannot control it.
  • We worry about a big project at work, because it is so important to maintain our reputation at work and there is a promotion coming up.
  • We worry about an incoming hurricane, because we know we cannot control the safety of our home and family.

This worry can lead us back to the foot of God’s throne, to acknowledge his sovereignty and his goodness. Psalm 55 is a great example of this. Or, this worry can lead us into despair, anxiety, and sinful thoughts and actions.

We worry because we care about our relationships and our happiness.

Most typically, we worry about something that we care about. This is often people – we worry about our spouses, kids, friends, and community. This spreads into any area of life that brings us happiness. We worry about our homes, our possessions, our jobs, and our health because they are very important to us. We cannot control the health and happiness of those we love, but we can worry about these things, and our thought life may turn in this direction.

This worry can lead us to prayer and thanksgiving to the God who gives us these good gifts, or it can lead us into fear, greed, and stress.

We worry because we mess up.

We all sin. We all mess up. (See 1 John 1:8). And like Adam and Eve, we react by worrying about how that sin will impact us, running away, hiding. We are concerned about how people will react and the repercussions of our sin.

This worry can lead us to the foot of the cross, confessing our sin to God. If we confess, He is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Or, this worry can lead us into pride, selfishness, and sinful actions like lying to cover up our mistakes.

We worry because we take our eyes off God.

Ultimately, we worry because we take our eyes off God and onto ourselves or our situation. We want to control things, instead of trusting his control. We care for people and things that He has given us, forgetting that He cares far more than we ever can. We recognize our mistakes and dwell on the possible horrible consequences, diminishing the truth of the gospel that Jesus has already covered all of that with his own sacrifice, his own blood.

Stay tuned for additional posts about worry, as we look at how to handle worry and how to stop worrying.