Some of the things we worry about are matters of genuine concern, but some of them really don’t deserve the worry weight we place on them. That reveals that there are two levels of worry. The first level of worry is over things that may call for specific action and prayer; the second level of worry needs to be treated differently.The first kind of worry is the subject of Psalm 107 where a pattern is established in a refrain that repeats throughout the psalm. “They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress.” The word ‘trouble’ can also be translated as ‘a tight place.’ We do get in tight places, and that does call for trust and prayer. St. Peter advises us to cast and keep on casting our anxieties on Him for He cares about us (I Peter 5:7). Sometimes dealing with a significant worry takes persistent prayer and responsible action.
The second kind of worry is just the habit of worrying. We human beings will worry about things that aren’t worth worrying about just because we are used to worrying about something. The Psalmist says of some people, “There they were, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread” Psalm 53:5 NIV).
This kind of worrying can be managed by a simple technique. As one of the ancient Desert Fathers said, “If you have a snake or a scorpion and you put it in a box and put the lid on it, sooner or later it will die.” A little holy repression is good for the soul. Repress it. Put it out of your mind. Go watch a movie. Read a good book. “Whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8).
On a deeper level, consider the Sovereignty of God. There is ultimately nothing that is going to happen to you that He can’t redeem. He who created you, loves you, and holds you in the hollow of his hand. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures for ever” (Psalm 118:1).