Early one morning, I woke up to the increasingly familiar sense of worry. My six children were growing up fast, and I felt thrust into a new season called midlife that I had no idea how to navigate.
How were they no longer little? How, after 20 years, did parenting feel new and foreign again?
That morning, I worried about my children as they moved into young adulthood. However, I was also worried that my husband’s demanding job was taking a toll on him. My own health issues were flaring up again, too, which added another layer of worry to my weary heart.
Worry Leaves Little Room for Worship
All of these worries did not leave much room for praise or joy. But that very morning, when I opened my Benedictus prayer companion, the Psalmist invited me to enter into the praise of God anyway:
“Hallelujah! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in its maker, the people of Zion rejoice in their king.” (Psalm 149:1-2)
In the Douay-Rheims translation, in which I originally read this Psalm, it refers to “the assembly of the faithful” as “the church of the saints.” And in that very moment, I couldn’t help but imagine the Communion of Saints praising the Lord in Heaven.
The Psalm goes on to proclaim that when we praise and rejoice, “such is the glory of all God’s faithful.” (v. 9)
That morning, in the midst of my worrying, I was reminded that praise, joy, sainthood, and glory are not only trademarks of the Christian life. They are also my destiny, what God promises as my eternal inheritance.
And I wondered, “How can I live these out when I worry?”
The answer was “I can’t.”
God Promises to Be With Us
Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord has said to thee, “I will never abandon thee, I will always be with thee!” … He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain. (St. Augustine of Hippo, quoted in A Year With the Saints)
This promise is recorded in Matthew 28:20.
But despite the very promise of Christ, it is still too easy to fall into worry and so hard to trust the Lord. Why is it so effortless to grow anxious and so difficult to allow joy to bloom in my heart?
I do not pretend to have answers to this question. At this point, I have not overcome my worry in order to share any secrets to success.
But what I do know is that life is full of situations and experiences that are unexpected, ever changing, mysterious, challenging, and even painful. And in the midst of each and every one of them, God invites us to “cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
From Worry to Worship
I also know that when we immerse ourselves in Sacred Scripture, when we take God at His Word, we feel His closeness and are able to entrust our troubles more fully to Him. And when we surrender our concerns to Him in prayer, He is able to transform them. Like the cadence of the Psalms, our lamentation turns to hope, our worry to worship. Our circumstances may not change, but our disposition grows more peaceful, and our outlook is made new.
Below are seven Bible verses to pray when worry seems to absorb our thoughts, feelings, and even our prayer time. As we contemplate these verses, allow the seeds of worry to dissolve and new life to grow in our hearts.
I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go. // Joshua 1:9
When I am afraid, in you I place my trust. // Psalm 56:4
When cares increase within me, your comfort gives me joy. // Psalm 94:19
Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. // Isaiah 41:10
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. // Matthew 6:34
Do not let your hearts be troubled. // John 14:1
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. // Philippians 4:6-7
What Bible verse calms your worry? Please share it in the comments below.
This was originally published on CatholicMom.com.