Surrendering your worries and cares to God seems like it should be easy, but it’s actually quite hard. It’s like learning how to stop worrying what people think — much easier said than done!
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have no reason to worry about your life, family, relationships, past mistakes or future possibilities.
You know you don’t need to worry. Maybe you’ve even heard that worrying is a sin for Christians. Worrying means you think you can do things better than God — and that you know how things should turn out! You know this can’t possibly be true…but yet you still worry. Your imagination gets the better of you. You find yourself worrying about things you know might never happen but you’re scared they will. Or if you’re like me, you tend to ruminate about the past, about your failures and regrets. You struggle to forgive yourself for the mistakes you made.
You want to learn how to stop worrying and surrender to God, but you just don’t know how. The good news is that you are normal. And you’re creative, imaginative, and clever! Your sharp mind is creating all manner of problems, quandaries, disasters and dilemmas. You could write a whole book about all your worries and fears, couldn’t you? But you don’t want to—and you don’t have to.
Here’s more good news: my tips on how to surrender your worries to God will help you move past your fears and enter a fresh new season of life.
I learned long ago how to stop worrying because I got tired of losing sleep. I’d stay up all night, worried about the next day’s job interview, school exam, first date with a new guy, upcoming bill payments, possible car repairs and financial problems. One day I realized that staying up all night worrying actually created more problems. I was cranky, unhappy, depressed, and exhausted the next day. I couldn’t think straight—and of course nothing I worried about actually happened.
Then I learned how to surrender to God. And that changed everything.
How to Surrender Your Worries to God
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. I started with Genesis — beginning with The Reason You Were Created – Genesis 1 and ended that series with How to Live Like You Really Are Forgiven and Free – Genesis 50. Enter Exodus!
My tips on how to stop worrying and surrender to God are inspired by Exodus 29.
1. Learn more about the God to whom you surrender all
“I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God,” says God in Exodus 29:44-46. “And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.” The reason God gave Moses such detailed, organized instructions on how to consecrate the priests was to have a relationship with His people. Open your Bible and read Exodus 29. Note the details of burnt offerings, sacrificial bulls, anointing oil, and blood splattered on the altar and the priests. It’s so gory and brutal! And so powerful and meaningful. The Lord God created a bloody, long, difficult, sensory, sacrificial ceremony of cleansing, purification and atonement so that He could dwell amongst and be with His chosen people.
What is the last new thing you learned about God? You can’t learn how to stop worrying and surrender to God if you don’t know who God is. There are infinite new things to learn about Him! The fact that God sent His son Jesus to die for you is the foundation of your faith as a Christian. Jesus Christ is connected to the priests and sacrifices in Exodus and Leviticus. Did you know that God brought you, too, out of exile? Did you know that by worrying about people, places and problems you are keeping yourself in exile? Surrendering to God doesn’t just mean you’ll stop worrying about things you can’t control. Surrender means you will be granted a fresh new life with nothing but peace, acceptance, freedom and joy. The first tip on how to stop worrying is to keep learning about the God you’re surrendering to. Make your life about Him, not you and the way you think things should go.
2. Decide what you will stop worrying about
Exodus 29:37 says, “The altar will become especially holy; whatever touches the altar will become holy.” The Lord God told Moses how to consecrate the priests, so they in turn could offer sacrifices to make the Israelites holy. The offerings and sacrifices of purification and atonement were temporary coverings; the altar was a holy, sacred table that could cleanse and purify whatever touched it. Sometimes I hear pastors and priests encourage believers today to “leave their sins at the altar.” I believe we can leave our fears, doubts, concerns and problems at the altar, too. And that includes our big and little worries.
What three things do you want to stop worrying about? First, make a list of your Top 10 Things to Worry About. If you only have one Big Worry such as fear, read How to Stop Fear From Controlling You. More likely you have several worries that are all related to the same core person, problem, place or thing. Break that one Big Worry down into 10 smaller-but-related worries. Second, choose your Top 3 Biggest Worries. Of all the “worst case scenarios”, which three are the Biggest and Baddest? Third, write a page-long description of how bad each thing will be if it actually happens. Go into the details you’re most worried about: the problems, pains and potential pitfalls of your Biggest Worries. Then, practice learning how to surrender your worries to God…
3. Create a daily practice of surrendering to God without worrying
Exodus 29 is just the beginning of a long, sacred, honored tradition of making sacrifices to atone for sins and approach God as holy, cleansed Israelites. Surrendering to God also involved eating unleavened bread and unleavened cakes (Exodus 29:2), wearing priestly garments (Exodus 29:5), participating in a grain offering and a drink and a fire offering (Exodus 29:41). The Israelites—and the priests—were called to surrender to God by making deliberate, costly, bloody sacrifices. These offerings and sacrifices were only temporary, and had to be repeated regularly.
“There is a price to pay for being fully surrendered to God,” writes David Guzik in his Exodus 29 commentary on Enduring Word. “The ceremony of consecration was long, bloody, and it took persistence to complete. Yet the reward was far greater than the cost – the glory of the LORD was revealed not only to the consecrated priests, but to the people in general.”
Jesus Christ changed our relationship with God, with the world, and with ourselves. Jesus changed everything. But before we can live in the true joy, freedom, acceptance and peace of Him we need to learn how to surrender our worries to God. This is a daily “sacrifice” that we have to repeat over and over—especially if you tend towards anxiety, fear, confusion and worry about your life. Sometimes surrender just means a daily practice of prayer and returning God’s gaze. Other times surrender requires more intense work, such as counseling or even seeing a doctor about anxiety and stress levels.
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” ~ Isaiah 43:19.
What do you need to do in order to stop worrying and keep surrendering to God? What first steps can you take to live in freedom, courage, love, light, and joy? Your comments — big and little — are welcome below!
With His love,
P.S. If you’re struggling to with guilt and shame, read Is God Punishing You for Something You Did?