"Worry isn't the same as fear—it’s the practice of indulging fear, clinging to it, feeding & serving it." Tweet from @ivpress, 9/11/14
Worry and fear are often related and both can have negative effects on our lives. But it helps to think some things through here so we don’t add some unnecessary guilt to an already poisonous cocktail.
The Scriptures tell us not to worry and sometimes the word is translated anxiety. But some anxiety (as in panic attacks) can’t be what we are being warned to avoid since it arises more from a chemical imbalance in the brain than from focusing on something that may not work out.
At the same time, fear is even more complex. Sometimes it is just a normal human reaction to sudden danger, part of the normal fight/flight mechanism. Sometimes it is an appropriate, even expected, response to the awesomeness of God, but sometimes it is in us because of a lack of faith in the goodness and faithfulness of God.
It is this last idea that relates to our opening quote. The kind of worry Jesus tells us to get rid of comes from looking at circumstances and feeding our fear that things are going to turn out badly. Beyond that, it is giving those fears the right to rule us and our thoughts.
The point here is that we often cannot prevent certain knee-jerk reactions and very normal emotions, but we can, with the Spirit’s power, decide what we will cling to, feed and serve. Will it be fear or faith?