When Worry Gets Hold

By Christin Ditchfield Lazo

A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 12:22-31 

22 He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you — you of little faith! 29 And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.


“Do not worry,” Jesus says, in today’s Scripture reading. The word “worry” comes from the word “wyrgan,” which means “to strangle.” Later it became “worien,” which means to grab another creature by the throat and kill it by shaking it. (Picture a wild dog or a wolf that’s caught hold of a sheep or some other animal — they “worry” it to death.)

When we worry, that’s what we do. We latch on to a negative thought or a bunch of negative thoughts. We grab them by the teeth and refuse to let go. We churn. We toss and turn. We shake them this way and that. From a distance it looks like we’re strangling them. But the truth is, they’re strangling us.

There are so many better things to do with our fears, our worries. There are so many more effective strategies to combat stress and distress — like this one, shared years ago by Bible teacher Jill Briscoe:

“I heard a lovely story of a little boy bending over some tulips in the park, totally oblivious as he smelled them. As he straightened up, a grown-up walking past heard him say, ‘Well done, God!’ And that’s what I do. I go over the lovely flowers in my life that God has grown out of trust. I say, ‘Well done, God!’ That’s great therapy for worry.”

Start cultivating the garden of your heart today. Find ways to help you remember who God is and what he has done for you. Use a journal or a scrapbook, your blog or Facebook page, or a smartphone app to count your blessings and recount specific ways in which God touched your heart or life. Take pictures or videos. Or create a visual representation you can keep in front of you, like a jar of colorful stones, each one with a significant date written on it.

When worry threatens to overwhelm you, stop and smell the “tulips.” You’ll encourage your own heart, and the hearts of those around you!

Christin Ditchfield Lazo, M.A. (Bible and Theology), is a best-selling author, conference speaker, and syndicated radio host, passionate about calling believers to a deeper life of faith.

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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

Zabriskie Memorial Church of St. John the Evangelist
The Diocese of Bunyoro-Kitara (Church of the Province of Uganda)


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