The wandering path of worry versus the straight path of trust...
I found this interesting thought in a longer quote on the lovely blog, very CALM: "Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself."
I don't know that I've ever formed this idea in such succinct words, but it truly hits home with me. I can look back over my life and see times when I took things into my own hands, rather than trustfully depending on the Lord to meet a need. This was especially true in my pre-Christian days, when I looked for happiness down some winding, dead-end roads. In my case, I did try some fruitless and faulty means to assuage worries and insecurities. God used some hard lessons learned to turn my feet toward Him.
One of my youthful follies was to worry about what people thought of me, which often led me to follow the crowd rather than to follow righteousness. Though it takes a much different and more subtle form now, I still find that I must guard my heart against such worry. It's interesting to me that Jesus says in John 5:44, "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" Chasing the approval of people over the approval of the Lord leads to unbelief.
I see this truth that worry leads to other sins played out in God's word. One example that springs to mind is Sarah, who worried that the Lord would never send her the child he promised. She pushed Abraham into fathering a child by her maidservant, Hagar, a move which didn't turn out well. (A lack of trust never turns out well!) Likewise, Abraham worried that a king might try to kill him in order to take Sarah, and he persuaded her to tell half-truths in order to save his skin. Yet, the Lord was watching out for them all along, and had they rested in this truth, they could have avoided painful sin. Happily, these were but episodes in otherwise faithful lives, and they are known as the father and the mother of the faithful.
Worrying can take you down some twisty, winding dead end paths. Someone once advised me, "Never make a decision based on fear." It is hard to make righteous or even rational choices when your mind is divided by worry. It is easy for the anxious mind to grasp at any means of comfort or security, even if those means provide only a temporary and deceptive relief.
Trust, on the other hand, shines a light on the straight and narrow path that leads to life. One of my favorite verses says,
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight."