Worriers Love Information

StudyWhen I don’t have enough information I start to worry. Case in point. After the birth of our daughter Jen started getting pounding headaches every day, and we couldn’t figure out why. Nothing seemed to ease the pain and nobody could tell us what was really wrong. I started to get worried. What if something was seriously wrong with her? What if she had a brain tumor or something? Did she have some rare form of cancer? I needed more info. So I started doing research on the Internet, hoping to figure out what was causing the splitting headaches. But I couldn’t find anything clear. I just wanted to know what was causing the problem. Then I could plan appropriately. Then I would be back in control.

In his book Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest, Ed Welch says:

Anxiety asks for more information so it can be prepared for the coming apocalypse. It also asks for more information so it can manage the world apart from God.

Sick. That describes me to the letter. I want as much information as possible so that I can plan appropriately and control every facet of my life. I want to know all possible illnesses that my daughter Charis could contract so that I can then take the appropriate defensive measures. I want to know exactly how much my income and expenses are going to be for the next month so that I can make the appropriate budget. I want to know every detail of what’s going to happen at the church meeting that I’m leading tomorrow night. Why? So that nothing gets out of my control. None of these things is inherently wrong. Wanting to control my life apart from God is.

The truth is, I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but God does. And God promises a tomorrow that’s both under his control and full of grace. I try to gather enough information so that I don’t have to trust in and rely on God. God calls me to rest in him, knowing that I’ll experience his grace tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after.

Are you an information hoarder? It’s not wrong to gather info, but if you find yourself driven by anxiety, stop and take a deeper look. Are you trusting in yourself and your ability to plan, or in your sovereign, loving Father? Let me close with these words, again by Ed Welch:

There is no sense devising future scenarios now because God will do more than you anticipate. When you understand God’s plan to give future grace, you have access to what is arguably God’s most potent salvo against worry and fear.

By the way, the headaches went away.

Comments

  1. Pat McCombie says

    Stephen–thank you so much for this post. Worrying has been a sin issue I’ve struggled with for many many years. I can be so quick to move in and out of trusting God then not trusting God. This is great timing for some things that the Lord is dealing with in my life. Also, sounds like a good book!

  2. says

    We are “information hoarders” here at the Almengor’s…the internet is our vice. :) We are constantly having to evaluate our motives and grateful that God perseveres in completing the good work He’s begun in us!

  3. Stephen Altrogge says

    Beth & Chris – I’m so glad the post was helpful.

    Pat – I can totally relate to you. It’s so easy to move from trusting God to be in all out fear in a matter of moments. It seems like we need to be continually reminded of God’s sovereignty. Thanks for your encouragement.

    Briana – Yes the internet can be a dangerous place when it comes to information. It seems to feed my self-sufficiency at times, since I have so much info at my disposal…

  4. says

    Thank you. I KNOW these things…yet seems I need to be reminded of them at least, well, daily…or more often? To live in the knowledge, the real, experiential belief that God really is in control, and that I don't have to (can't) be prepared for what life brings….it all comes back to ME. Thanks for the reminder that when my focus is HIM, that HE knows what I need, there is rest and peace. God bless you. (I don't have much time for reading blogs, but yours has been a blessing to me.)

  5. says

    Hi Stephen, I just read my post, and was reminded of why I don't often post comments—I was trying to say that I am frustrated that I so often believe that everything depends on ME, when in reality it does not–it depends on God, and I am totally dependent on Him for everything. Anyway, just wanted to clarify that I didn't mean to imply that life REALLY comes back to me, only that I often live that way instead of trusting my kind heavenly Father.
    Blessings to you!

  6. Melissa_K says

    Me to a tee. And I believe it's one key reason God called my husband to resign from his job in a hostile work environment three months ago even though there was no other employment lined up. The incredible thing is that (on most days) I actual feel less anxiety now than I did in the midst of great pay and benefits, because I have chosen to let go. It's true that His grace just keeps flowing.

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