Have you ever noticed that two words can sound so similar and yet hold different meaning? A friend pointed this very thing out to me the other day with the words worrier and warrior. Even reading the words next to each other, it’s easy to get them mixed up. When my friend brought this up, I was struck by how alike the words “worrier” and “warrior” sound and yet how completely opposite they are. The words worrier and warrior don’t just hold different meanings, they are the antithesis of one another. Someone who is worrying cannot be a warrior, and a warrior will never waste time worrying. We can either choose to be worriers or to be warriors. We cannot simultaneously be both.
Matthew 6:33-34 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Most of us, I would imagine, want to be warriors. Worrying is never something that we seek out to do, and a worrier is not who we want to be. But it’s easy to feel powerless against worry. It seems to sneak into our minds without permission and hold us hostage. The truth is, though, we do have power. That is one of the many gifts God gives us, the power of choice over our own thoughts and beliefs.
There are several key differences between being a worrier and being a warrior. The good news is, we get to choose which one we want to be. There is no in between.
- A worrier focuses on what he cannot control; a warrior is fully engaged in the current moment, aware and alert
- A worrier drops his head in shame and defeat; a warrior holds his head high in confidence and victory
- A worrier doesn’t trust anyone, including themselves and God; a warrior trusts greatly, for he knows where his power comes from
- A worrier is sick inside; a warrior is strong and in the peak of health
- A worrier fears the days ahead; a warrior laughs at them
- A worrier is paralyzed by thoughts of tomorrow; a warrior never stops advancing
The greatest deciding factor in whether we will be a worrier or a warrior lies in what we decide to do with fear. Will we hold on to it and grovel in it, sinking deeper and deeper? Or will we move forward in spite of it, using our fears as a gripping point to advance? A worrier becomes bogged down in the material circumstances immediately surrounding them all the while conjuring up worse and worse possibilities for the future. A warrior, on the other hand, pushes forward no matter the circumstances and without fear for what lies ahead.
In life’s toughest moments when it seems like the sky is falling down around us and we feel like Chicken Little, unequipped and afraid, we have a choice to make. We can either run around worried, like Chicken Little does the first time he’s hit in the head with a piece of the sky, causing everyone else to burst into a panic, or we can take on the situation as it exists, like Chicken Little ultimately does, and do what needs to be done to resolve the issue at hand. In the end, Chicken Little sets aside his fear and worry and saves the world from alien invasion. The circumstances didn’t get better before he decided to face his fears and be a warrior. In fact, they got a whole lot worse! But his response to his circumstances changed, and he was able to overcome what had previously stricken him with worry.
When we worry, we become so internally focused that we can’t see anything but the bad. We become self-centered and blinded by our own fears, myopic and paralyzed. When we choose to be a warrior, though, we turn our focus outwards onto God and onto the world around us, we stop looking at our own fears and shortcomings, and we decide to tackle life as it comes.
Worriers get stuck, there’s no other outcome to worrying. Warriors, on the other hand, never stop advancing. Warriors only grow stronger in the face of adversity while theirs fears seem to get smaller and smaller. Warriors are not delusional about their humanity, but rather are humble, and from their humility succeed by trusting in a Power greater than their own. In the midst of the struggle, warriors find peace. Warriors live from a place of victory; warriors are victorious before the battle even begins.
The greatest beauty of all is knowing that we are not victim to worry. It is a choice. We can be warriors, victorious, in any and every moment life brings us. We don’t have to be weighed down by fear of what’s to come; instead, we can take hold of it and keep moving forward. Life isn’t going to be easy. In fact, God promises that in this world we will have trouble. But we can take heart, for He has overcome the world. And it is from that place that we become warriors – engaged, confident, strong, trusting, joyful, ever-growing, victorious warriors.