I have a picture of a king salmon that I caught several years ago on the Salmon River on the Oregon coast. It is hanging on a big scale that was at a fishing lodge. So in the picture, you can see the face of the scale because it was big, and you can see the needle pointing to 65 lbs, and me standing next to the fish as I show it off. 65 lbs is a huge salmon, but the problem is the fish was only 42 lbs, and the 65 was a result of my hand, which was out of the picture pulling down on the fish. I didn’t realize that I was pulling so hard; I intended to add just enough that it went over 50 lbs just a little bit. I must have been more muscular back in those days than I am now. It has been so long since I have shown that picture to anybody that I don’t even know where it is now. Maybe after I die Patty will find it and have it on display at my memorial service to validate my claim to be the worls’s greatest fisherman.
One of the things that our brain can do is make problems and trials seem much bigger and more serious than they really are. When I get my picture taken with a fish I hold it as far out in front of me as I can to make it appear bigger than it really is. We make bad events and circumstances look bigger by thinking about them over and over. Every repeat in our brain results in a magnification of reality in our judgment. As the size of the problem grows in our brain the urge to think about it some more, fret about it and to get increasingly paranoid about it increases as well. It doesn’t take long before we have a major crisis going on in our life or the world.
The Bible commands us not to fret or worry about a matter, in fact it makes this command over a dozen times. Some would say that choosing not to think about a problem or crisis in our life is impossible, but it isn’t, it will take some effort, but it is very doable.
Fretting and worrying takes away our joy, it takes away our peace, it drains our energy, it negatively impacts our health, it lowers are our ability to resist viruses like COVID, it makes us grumpy, it keeps us from sleeping well, and it destroys our faith and security in God’s care for us. You may not be a fool when you start fretting, but if you keep it up you will be a number one, Proverbs kind of fool.
The way you stop is by praying for and about whatever is bothering you, choose to do that. Write your prayer out. Also memorize Bible verses that command you not to fret, that promise God’s protection and meditate on them, every time you start to worry set you mind on the Word of God. And the most powerful way for me to take my thoughts captive is to think about the details of eternity, heaven, and my glorified body.