The Worry Jar

It was the first evening of a nine-day intensive training. Women from six nations had traveled here to Chiang Mai, some leaving their home country and flying for the first time. One woman had left behind her four-month-old son and enough breast milk to keep him fed until her return. Another would learn, during our time together, that a beloved colleague had committed suicide. All had spent a considerable amount of time preparing for the training — approximately 40 hours of pre-work — and organizing things at work and home for this time away. I was in a new role, as were others on the facilitation team. There were a LOT of things that could cause us to be anxious. Worried. Preoccupied.

And so… that first evening, I introduced the “Worry Jar.”

I shared with the women that more than likely there may be things weighing on our hearts — worries, cares, concerns — that could rob us of all that God would want to say and do in our lives during these days together. I shared some encouraging words from God’s Word..

Be still [surrender your anxiety] and KNOW [realize] that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46:10

Do not be anxious about anything [don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing], but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving [overflowing gratitude], present your request to God. [Tell Him every detail of your life.] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 6-7

Cast all your anxiety on Him [pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there] — because He cares for you.

I Peter 5:7

We spent a few moments in silent prayer, committing those things that were on our hearts to the Lord. And then, as a way of demonstrating giving everything to Him, releasing those things to Him, we wrote those things on a slip of paper and then put them in the “Worry Jar.” A visible, tangible reminder that we were giving these things to God, trusting Him with whatever was on our hearts.

Two days ago, did I ever need a “Worry Jar“!?! I had tossed and turned in bed, sleep evading me for several hours in the early morning hours while my mind was in overdrive. I awoke tired, anxious … a vague sense of things being out of kilter. I then realized that there were several things I was clinging to, things I thought I had given to the Lord — but obviously had grabbed back! Health concerns. Job concerns. Grieving with friends who had lost their son — the same age as our son. Planning yet another training this year. The list kept going!

At the close of that first evening of training last fall — after putting our slips of paper in the “Worry Jar” — we listened to a song that repeated a simple, yet profound phrase over and over…

Be still
Be still and know that
In stillness and quiet
That I am the Lord

Let go
Let go of your worries
Only one thing is needed
Just be still and know
Be still and know
That I am the Lord

“Know (Be Still)” by Jeremy Camp

The “Worry Jar” kept getting fuller and fuller throughout the week, and yet something else also happened. The peace of God — that peace that transcends all human understanding — became increasingly evident. As the song says, “Only one thing is needed… just be still and know that I am the Lord.”

We all need reminders from time to time. Sometimes, having a tangible “something” to remind us to keep our focus on the Lord is beneficial. Other times, a good friend can help us regain perspective. At any rate, may we continually seek ways to come alongside one another so that together we may have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life!”

10 thoughts on “The Worry Jar”

  1. Thank you once again for a message I really need to hear. Praying for you often. Nancy Nath  Sent from the all new AOL app for Android


  2. Thank you so much for this!! I’m sitting next to my mom in her rehab hospital and the worries just keep flooding in!! I so needed this reminder!! And maybe I need to make a worry jar of my own!!


    1. Oh, how I understand that scenario — and how helpless, we, the bystanders, often feel! Thank you for keeping us updated on Facebook so that we can be walking this journey together with you. I’m SO very grateful you can be there for/with your mom. One day at a time, dear Shannon… ❤️


  3. Thanks a lot Mary for this “Worry Jar” message. I am reminded as well to “be still and know that He is GOD.” That’s the best thing I must do!


  4. Wonderful message, Mary!
    Our worries are indeed a lack of faith. But the human part of us are prone to doing it, even though we know He is our source of strength.
    Blessings to you and Al!


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