Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12:25
The act of worrying is like going through life with a backpack. When you find something a concern or care, you stuff it down into the pack. You could be worried about a pain you are having in your back, so you put a 5-pound weight in the bag. Then you go to WebMD where you read about all the possible illnesses you might have, and you just added a 10-pound rock to the pack. You go to see a chiropractor and they tell you that you definitely have back problems, but they can put you on a plan for $1000 that will get you healthy and pain-free again. This adds another 25 pounds to the backpack. We all can get weighed down by the worries that we carry.
Harder still is when you are not the one who is locked up with anxiety, but it is a spouse, child or best friend. Seeing them pack their bags with fears and worries is sometimes more difficult than carrying them yourself. It is hard to find the words to say because just saying, "don't be anxious," can actually do more damage.
God knew that we would struggle with the weight of worries and cares. That is why He inspired Solomon, one of the smartest men who ever lived, to share that "worry weighs a person down." But after establishing the pain that worry causes us, Solomon points to a solution by saying, "an encouraging word cheers a person up." This is important because encouragement has the power to help a person to break free of their worries. When we encourage a person who is weighed down by worries, we help them to unpack their backpack. We help the weights to fall off, and they start to believe that God is going to give them the strength to overcome.
If your child is scared about riding a bike, going to school, or being around mean kids, it makes matters worse to say, "I don't believe you can do it." But if you say to your child, "I believe in you," "I trust that God is going to help you," or even "You can do it!" their spirits will be lifted. If your spouse is anxious, don't say, "Stop being so anxious!" But instead say, "I am right here by your side," "I am here to help you," or "How can I help you with this?" These words communicate to the other person that they are not alone. This encouragement is like a breath of fresh air to those who are worried. Who can you encourage today?
We all have people in our lives that struggle with stress and anxiety. It could be that you are part of the problem or the solution. When we refuse to lift them up or to help them out of their worries, we become part of the problem. But when we decide to be by their side, we become part of the solution. Who is someone in your life right now that needs some extra encouragement? Put a plan together to lift them up today.
Read Psalm 121:1-8 (NLT)
I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there?My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber.Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
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