The stereotypical emotions of a dating relationship are feelings like happiness, excitement and joy.
But the emotions I felt most often while dating were probably fear, worry and doubt.
Don’t get me wrong — I was really happy, excited and joyful. But if you zoomed into my day-to-day emotional status, you’d see I worried a lot.
I worried about whether our communication was good. I worried about what my family and friends thought of Reed. I worried about what Reed thought of me.
I knew this worry was a trust issue. If I really believed that “all things work together for the good of those who love God,” I would know I didn’t have anything to worry about (Romans 8:28).
A two-pronged trust issue
And yet, I worried. I still struggle with worry.
In my mind, I know that God is the all-powerful Creator and Sustainer of everything in the universe. But what I know logically isn’t always reflected in my emotions and actions.
It’s just like what happens when I’m riding in the passenger seat while my husband drives. Reed is objectively a better driver than me. Logically, I should trust him to make the right decision.
But just this week as we were driving home from church, I yelled in a worried voice, “Careful!” when another car was approaching.
In my relationship with my husband, my worry is often a two-pronged trust issue. It’s not just that I don’t trust my husband’s driving abilities. It’s that I trust my abilities more than his.
Similarly, there are two main lies that keep you worrying about your dating relationship:
- God doesn’t have full control of the future
- I can influence the future by worrying about it
When we worry, we’re essentially believing that any solution we can come up with will be more effective than what God can offer. We put more faith in our worries than in God’s works.
This is foolish, and we all know it. You are fully aware that worrying about your boyfriend’s safety when he’s traveling doesn’t accomplish anything. So, why do we persist in it?
It’s because our sinful nature runs deep. Paul says, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19).
We are helpless when it comes to changing things about our future. But we’re also helpless when it comes to changing our ability to trust God.
In verse 18, Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
This feels pretty discouraging until you read Philippians 2:12-13, which is like a massage for a tensed-up soul. It says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
God is at work not only in your life, but in you. Finding freedom from worry begins with recognizing two truths:
- God is able to control every detail of the future.
- God is able to help you trust him.
Start by stopping here
Sometimes, worry is more complex. If you have anxiety disorder, for instance, rejecting these two lies isn’t going to be enough.
But it can be a starting point for anyone who struggles with worry. If you continue telling yourself, “Stop worrying,” it won’t work.
Start by humbly asking God to help you stop underestimating his abilities and overestimating yours.