Joyce Meyer - Worry and Anxiety
Well, thank you for joining me today on Enjoying Everyday Life. It's always my desire that after you spend this 30 minutes with me, that you're gonna feel so much better than you did before you started listening. The Word of God is powerful, it has the ability to calm you down, to cheer you up, to give you hope, to stir your faith up. And I believe that God's gonna speak some things through me today that are gonna help you, because I'm gonna talk about worry and anxiety. I just wonder if there's anybody watching me right now, that's worried about any thing?
Well, worry is a huge problem, isn't it? Matter of fact, some people think that it's their obligation to worry. Some people feel like if they don't worry about their kids, they're not being good parents. But worry has never done anybody one ounce of good. There's no upside to worry. Worry is useless. I like to use the example of sittin' in a rocking chair. You can sit in a rocking chair and rock all day and it keeps you busy, but you get absolutely nowhere. And that's the same way it is with worry. You can worry all day. You can stay awake and worry all night. You can worry for a week or a month and it's not gonna do any good. But it can do a lot of harm. Worry is a complete waste of time and energy.
You say, "Well, I can't help it". Well, let's don't go there. Because if the Bible tells us not to do it, then there is a way not to do it. And I believe that one of the things that we have to have, if we're not gonna worry, is a strong belief in the power of prayer. I've been a Christian for a long time. And I've been preaching the word for a long time. But even just in the last maybe, three years, my faith in the power of prayer has increased so much. I think if we really watch how God answers prayer. Sometimes we pray about things and then later on, maybe six months later and even a year later, God answers 'em. And we forget we even prayed about it. So, we don't give God the credit. If you have to, keep a prayer journal. Keep a record of the prayers that God answers, and the things that he does for you.
E. Stanley Jones said, "Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow's troubles". The definition of worry means "To torment oneself with disturbing thoughts". Wow. Well, who wants to torment yourself? The devil's trying hard enough to tournament you. You don't need to help him by worrying. To feel uneasy, to be anxious or troubled. To torment with annoyances, cares, and anxieties. Worry is self-torment. But God's will for you is peace. Oh, I love peace. I think that's one of my biggest goals in life right now, is to get through every day peacefully. And when trouble comes up, to stay peaceful. When there's something that comes along that I could worry about, instead to choose peace. Peace is wonderful. Colossians 3:15, the Amplified Bible says, "Let the peace (that comes) from Christ rule (and act as an umpire) in your heart".
Now, we all know what the empire does. The umpire says whether it's in or out, safe or not safe. And so, there's a good lesson here because it's basically saying if you don't have peace about something, don't do it. Or if what you're doing is not bringing peace, don't do it. If you're having an argument with somebody, and everybody's all upset and there's no peace, then that's not the right thing to do. That's not solving the issue. That's not solving the problem. If you're making a decision and maybe you wanna do it, you wanna do it so bad you can hardly stand it, but way down deep inside, you don't have peace about it. But you don't even understand why you don't have peace about it. Don't do it if you don't have peace about it. Don't do it.
You know, I was abused by my dad growing up, sexually, and verbally, and every way you could be abused. And so I married the first guy that showed any interest in me, 'cuz I thought nobody would ever want me. And I was just eighteen and he was nineteen. And I knew down deep inside that I was making a mistake, but I was desperate. I was afraid nobody would ever want me. And, you know, desperate people do desperate things. But don't do things you don't have peace about. And sure enough, it was a five-year nightmare of him running around with other women, and not working, and stealing things, and stealing things that belonged to me. And finally, he ended up in prison. And I got a divorce. And then, thank God, he sent me Dave, whom I've been married to now for 54 years. And what a change that's been.
When you have the right person, it can be wonderful. When you have the wrong person, it's a nightmare. So, don't just get desperate and grab at anything just to have somebody. Wait until God brings you the right person. And listen to this, "So be peaceful, and be thankful". Wow. I heard yesterday, I was listening to a teaching or something. And it said that "Gratitude is the shortest lived emotion". And I thought that was interesting. You know, we oughta be a whole lot more thankful than what we are. The Bible is absolutely full of instructions to be thankful. And right here it says, "Let the peace of God rule in your heart (as an umpire) and be thankful, [giving praise to God always]". You know, it's amazing how gratitude can change your life. You may be thinking about everything you don't have. But how about if you take a little time and start giving thanks for what you do have. Pretty soon, you'll get excited. You'll realize how blessed you are.
And boy, Jesus left us a wonderful gift: he left us his peace. John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you: my [own] peace I now give and bequeath unto you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Don't let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid". See he's giving us a responsibility. Now, listen to this, "[stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed]". And you know, the best time to stop worry, is when you first begin to worry. The best time to calm down is when you first get upset. The best time to forgive somebody that hurt you, is immediately when you start to feel angry about it. The longer you let these negative emotions take root in your soul, the harder it's gonna be to get rid of them. "Resist the devil at his onset," the Bible says in 1 Peter. "[stop allowing yourself to be agitated and disturbed: and don't permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled]".
You say, "Well, JoyceJoyce, I just can't help it. I'm just a worrier. My mom was a worrier, and I'm a worrier". Don't say that. You're not just a worrier, you're a child of God. You're full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lives in you. You're not just a worrier. You're an amazing piece of art, that God specifically designed, and created with his own hand. And his plan for you is good. And oh boy, do I love Philippians 4:6-7. This is one of my favorite ones. This is my go-to. When I start to worry, this is my go-to. "Don't be anxious about anything, but in [every situation] by prayer". How do you get rid of worry? You pray and you believe that when you pray, you're giving God your problem. Well, if you're giving it to God, then you can't keep it too. You either give it or you keep it. And so, when you pray, you're giving it over to God and you're saying, "God, I'm trusting you to do something about this". "With thanksgiving", there it is again. Thanksgiving: it's all over the Bible. With thanksgiving, be thankful.
What do you have today to be thankful for? You know, a lot of mornings I just thank God that I can walk, and talk, and see, and hear. Or I'll thank God that I've got hot and cold running water in my house that's clean. I like my first cup of coffee in the morning. I thank God for my coffee. There's so many things you can thank God for. No matter how bad your situation is, it could be so much worse than what it is. I know you may think nobody's got it as bad as you, but there are people in the world that have got it a lot worse than you do. "Don't be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus".
You know, the way that people greeted one another in the Bible, very often was, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you". I think that'd be nice if we had that today instead of just like, "Hey! Hoh! How you been"? And of course, we all say, "Fine," whether we've been fine or not. But they said, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you through our Lord Jesus Christ". You gotta understand grace to ever have peace. Because grace is God doing for you what you cannot do for yourself. Grace is the power of God. It's undeserved favor. It's God's riches at Christ's expense. Grace is outrageous. You can't understand it. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. We cannot have peace unless we understand God's character.
Let's talk a little bit about God's character. And just let this be a little checklist. See, if you know these things: if you're convinced of these things. First of all, God is good. All the time. Not just some of the time. And even when I have the biggest problem that I could ever possibly have, that doesn't change God. God's still good. God is faithful. He does what he says he's gonna do. He cannot lie. He always, always keeps his word. God is just and I love that. I love the justice of God. That means that he makes wrong things, right. It may take him a little bit longer than you'd like for it to. Not because he couldn't do it sooner, but God has his own reasons for his timing. And I tell you, I had so many unjust things happen to me in the earlier years of my life. But oooh, God has paid me back. He has turned them around and brought justice in my life. Wow!
God knows and sees your situation. You may feel like God's forgotten about you. But I can promise you that God has not forgotten about you. And in all probability, there's several people praying for you that you don't even know. God is love, and guess what? He loves you. God is everywhere, all the time. And he is not surprised by your situation. He knew about it before it ever happened. And he's already got your escape planned. We receive grace only by faith. And worry is not faith. Worry is our work, tryin' to do, what only God can do. Let me say that again, "Worry is our work, tryin' to do, what only God can do". You can't figure out the answer to your problem.
Now, you know, there's nothing wrong with pondering a situation before God. Talking with God about it, "God is there anything here that I can do? Is there something you want me to do? Is there something I can do to change the situation"? I don't know, maybe you've got turmoil between you and somebody. And you can talk to God about it. And he may tell you to, "Go and tell the person you're sorry". Well you don't think you're in the wrong, so you don't wanna do that. But God says, "No, be the bigger person, go and tell 'em you're sorry". Well, you can solve your whole problem, just by being willing to humble yourself a little bit and do what God wants you to. There's nothing wrong with pondering something before God, and asking him if there's something he wants you to do. But if you're not gettin' an answer, give the problem to God. Cast your care on him. And oh, now you are gonna be shocked by what I'm getting ready to say, and go ahead and enjoy your day.
"JoyceJoyce, I can't do that, I have a problem". Well, no, you don't have the problem, if you've given the problem to God. Now, he's got the problem. And yes, I realize that you still have to deal with situations and circumstances. And if you got a kid that's giving you trouble, you still gotta deal with that. But as long as you're believing, God is working on your problem and your situation. Worry is the fruit of pride. Worry is me saying, "If I rotate this around and around in my mind long enough, I can figure out an answer. If I worry about this long enough, I can solve my problem". I'm gonna say what I said earlier, you can give your problem to God, and you can go ahead and enjoy your life. The joy of the Lord is your strength. And when the devil gives you problems, the thing he's trying to get is your joy. Because your joy is what makes you strong.
1 Peter 5:6 and 7, "Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God". See, don't even think you can solve your problem. I've come to the point in my life, where I'm not smart enough to run my own life. Yes, I said, I'm not smart enough to run my own life. Oh, my goodness, I don't know how many times—everyday, I ask for God's help. I start before my feet are on the floor in the morning, "God help me". Sometimes I don't even know what I need help with, but I know I need help. I know if God doesn't help me, I'll say the wrong thing, get myself in trouble. If God doesn't help me, I'll give into the temptation to sin. I need God's help and so do you. "Casting all of your care [all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on him, for he cares for you affectionately and he cares about you watchfully".
How do you humble yourself? Casting your care on God. Do your responsibility but cast your care. And see what most people do is they keep the care and don't do their responsibility. Ephesians 6 talks about when we're havin' all kinds of diverse trials and temptations. And it says, "Having done all [the crisis demands], stand [firmly in your place]". If there is something you can do, do it. But if there is nothing you can do. And, you know, the devil sends out a little demon to sit on your shoulder, "Well, what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do"? Well, if you don't know what to do, just say, "I don't know what to do, but God does. I'm gonna praise God. I'm gonna keep giving. I'm gonna be a blessing to somebody".
You wanna really make the devil mad? When you've got your biggest problem, go be a blessing to somebody else. Yes, I'm gonna say it again. When you've got your biggest problem, go be a blessing to somebody else. Find something you can give. Find some way that you can be a blessing to other people. You know why? Romans 12:21 says we, "Overcome evil with good". Boy, I like that scripture. If evil has snuck its way into your life, then you go be good to somebody. Psalm 37:3, "Trust in the Lord and do good". Don't just trust God but keep doing good. Keep doing the right thing. Faith prays. Faith doesn't worry. Faith prays. Well, just what should you do after you pray, while you're waiting for God to do his work? What are you supposed to do then? Well, number one, keep a good confession.
In other words, keep saying what God says, don't say what the world would say. Don't pray one thing, and then go talk about in the opposite way. Stay positive and don't even start complaining. Oh, if we can get through just one day without complaining, what a miracle that would be. Don't get into murmuring, and grumbling, and complaining, it opens the door for the devil. Don't get discouraged and depressed, stay joyful. This is an important one, don't be resentful of people who don't have a problem. Whoo, that's so hard. Well, why is it that I have problems all the times, and you never seem to have a problem? Be happy for them. "Thank you God, that even though I have a problem, my friend, John, doesn't have a problem". "Thank you that my sister doesn't have a problem".
Don't be jealous of people that aren't going through a hard time, just because you are going through a hard time. Keep any and all commitments that you have made. You know, when we're upset about something, the first thing we wanna do is just go sit home and feel sorry for our self, and isolate ourselves, and not go to church, and not keep our commitments. "I'm not workin' the nursery this Sunday. I know I said I would, but I'm not going to because I've got a problem". Well, that's not what God wants you to do. He wants you to keep your commitments.
What should I do when I don't know what to do? Well, do what you would do if you didn't have a problem. I like that. What would you do if you didn't have a problem? If everything was coming up roses today, what would you do? Well, do that. Because your problem is on its way out. You can start saying, "Goodbye," to it now. "Goodbye problems". God is after you. While you're waiting on God, regularly voice your trust for God. "Lord, I trust you". You can just say it, you can just go through your house and say, "God, I trust you. God, I put my trust in you. I know you're workin' on my problem". Psalm 91:1 and 2, "Whoever dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty". Now, listen to this: "I will say of the Lord", what are you sayin' about God? "I will say of the Lord, 'he is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I put my trust'".
Boy, I like that. And then I added another one this morning, be prepared to wait. Oh, we don't like that waitin' stuff, do we? You know, I'm one of these people I wanna just do it and get it over with. Our TV, at home, it has some weird problems. Like sometimes you turn it off and it comes back on. And then you gotta use the on button to turn it off, and the off button to turn it on. I get frustrated with it. And Dave keeps telling me, "You have to point the remote at the TV, and you press the off button. And you have to hold it there for at least 10 seconds". Now, I guess for some reason it's not working perfectly, but he's found a way for it to work. And last night I was not holding it long enough. And I guess I was holding it up in the air and he said, "You can't hold it up in the air, you gotta point it at the TV and you gotta wait 10 seconds".
It's amazing how hard it is sometimes just to wait 10 seconds. But we've gotta be prepared to wait, when we give our problems to God. He's got a timing and it's not our timing. Worry robs you of your power, the grace that God gives you to live today. Because worry always operates in the past or the future. You waste today, worrying about yesterday. Or you waste today, worrying about tomorrow. And God doesn't want you to do either one. He wants you to enjoy today and live today, one day at a time. We don't know. We trust God for a long life, but what if this is my last day? What if God's gonna bring me home to be with him tonight? Well, I don't wanna spend my last day here worrying.
Matthew 6:34 says, "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own". Oh, my goodness, I wish that wasn't there. I would rather not think that if I make it through today, tomorrow may have some other kind of trouble. But you know what? We're living in a world, where the devil is alive and well on planet earth. And he loves to try to give people trouble. But if we trust God, honestly and truly, if we really trust God, we don't even notice all that stuff. Because God is so good. And he's busy bringing answers into people's lives.
And it's really fun to watch God work in your life. It's just wonderful to watch him work. Worry causes illness: ulcers, colon problems, headaches, nervous tension, irritability, and even cancer. Worry nullifies prayer. If I'm gonna pray about something, and then worry about it too, then my worry cancels out my prayer. The act of prayer says, "God, I trust you". And worry says, "God, I don't trust you". Worry chokes the word and keeps it from being fruitful, according to Matthew 13. "Some seed fell among thorns, and grew up, and choked the plants". Worry can cause us to miss important things going on around us. Things that we should be aware of, and things that we should see and notice. Thank you so much for being with us today. God bless you. We love you, love you, love you, love you, love you. And God loves you and something good is gonna happen to you.