Saturday, November 02, 2013

Worry Can’t Change Others

My guest today is Kathy Collard Miller. Her newest book, Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries has just released. I've invited her to share a little about worry...something I can relate to. How about you? Be sure to leave a comment for Kathy and be entered for a chance to win a copy.

Worry Can't Change Others
by Kathy Collard Miller 

There’s something deep inside of us that believes worry can change others. If someone we love has a different perspective than we do, we worry. If someone we love has a different belief about God, we worry. If someone we love has a character flaw, we worry. We just know their wrong thinking will mess up their lives. 

Some of these worries may truly seem “worthy” of worry. Your mother may not know Christ as her Savior, and she has cancer. Your son may be on the street taking drugs. Your friend may demonstrate a lack of integrity at work. Another friend drives while intoxicated. You may have tried to reason, cajole, quote Scripture, even manipulate each person into changing their ideas and their behavior, but nothing has worked—not even prayer. God hasn’t changed them either. You fear something bad, really bad, is going to happen.

Even if it’s not a matter of something really bad occurring, we can easily take responsibility for someone else’s happiness and then respond in an unhealthy way. I recognized that possibility as we walked through the grief process with my mother-in-law, Audrey.  

My husband's parents, Don and Audrey, were married for sixty-two years and in all that time, Audrey was only alone overnight for fewer than twenty nights—total. Even when Don was away during two different wars, Audrey’s mother lived with her. Four or five months before Don passed away, Audrey remarked to me, “If something happens to Don, I don’t know if I can live alone.” Then about a month later she commented, “I’ve been thinking about living alone and I think I can do it.”

I was so proud of her. 

The first night of Don’s hospitalization, Audrey stayed in our home. The next day she surprised us with her spunk, saying she wanted to return to her own home. I volunteered to spend the night at her home, but she said, “No, I have to get used to it.” And she did, even after Don died a week later.

But that doesn’t mean I didn't worry about her loneliness. During the first two weeks we made sure she had something to do with us every day. But realizing we couldn’t keep that up for long, I wondered how she would cope.

In my prayer time I prayed verses for Audrey dealing with the topic of loneliness. I began praying Psalm 146:9 for her: “The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow; But He thwarts the way of the wicked” (NASB). Unexpectedly, I thought, I shouldn’t try to fill the place the Lord wants in her life.

Wow—that hit me hard. In my worry about her loneliness, I had begun to feel responsible to make sure she wasn’t lonely. I wrote in my journal: “I can try to be there too much. She could depend upon me and/or Larry instead of looking to You, Lord. Help me, Father, to resist the compulsion to ‘be there’ for her too much.”

When I told Larry about what the Lord had revealed to me, I jokingly (but with some seriousness) quipped, “God doesn’t want me to be your mom’s grief savior.” If I had continued to worry about her, I could have easily become that. And I’d be good at it because I so easily take responsibility for the happiness of others.

When I talked to Audrey later that day, she enthusiastically said, “Guess what Chuck Swindoll talked about on his radio program today?”

What, Mom Audrey?”

Loneliness. It really ministered to me.”

I laughed. God had come through. I didn’t need to be in charge of making sure she wasn’t lonely. Of course, she’s going to be lonely—she’s alone for the first time in her life. We certainly are going to help her, but she should primarily look to God, not us. Otherwise, she’ll draw too close to us and not closer to God.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this....How has God met you or someone you know in the midst of your worry?
                                                      ~  Kathy

Want to be entered for the drawing for Kathy's book? Share a time when worry had an impact on your life. How have you discovered more of God's care even when worry threatened to overwhelm you? We will announce the winner on November 11, 2013.


It is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you're facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers a conversational style, personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God's hand in her life. 

Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author. Her passion is to inspire women to trust God more. She has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries. Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson) and she blogs at Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 43 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats.

Order a copy of Kathy's book in paperback or Ebook here:


  1. Kathy, my worry came at 47 years old. I had NEVER lived alone. I went from the protection of my parents home to being married for 27 years. Then came the D word. I had no work experience outside the home because we decided years ago that it was more important for me to be home with the kids. And financially we always made that work.
    I had to learn to live alone, meet my own financial needs, and I needed to find work.
    I was broken down and I discovered very quickly that God was the only glue that could repair me. I have been a Christian since I was 15, but being so well cared for and provided for, I never had to learn to truly lean on Him.
    God has proven himself to me multiple times over the last 3 years. I still don't have a great job, in this economy I have never been able to find full time employment. I work multiple small jobs to meet my financial needs, and I believe God has provided each and every opportunity to work.
    I catch myself worrying sometimes: is this how I am going to spend my retirement years? I'm running here and there for not much income. I need to remind myself that God has been faithful and He will continue to be faithful.
    I am living proof that we can survive and run a household on a part time income. That is an amazing testament to Gods love and care.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story, Jan. I know God will (and is) meet (ing) your needs. I have seen your worry turn into worship and it works!!

  3. I've always been the family fixer. I was the one responsible for all the holiday dinners, celebratory gatherings, and since I'm a nurse, participated in everybody's health care. I helped all of my siblings through addictions, incarcerations, family crises, and relocations.

    I'm also the only Christ-lover of the four children, so it was easy to fall into the role of worrier for their salvation. My brother was and still is the most resistant to God's love. I preached to him, shared the plan of salvation, talked about seeing Mother and Daddy in heaven...and every single interaction became a battle. I worried about my brother as he faced eternity. Yes, I knew his salvation didn't depend on me, but I acted like it did.

    Once God showed me that my confrontational delivery wasn't working, I changed tactics and spoke to him from a gentler perspective. And yet, each interaction still ended with his cuts and barbs and accusations. I was worried sick.

    One last time I lovingly and transparently shared God's love with my brother, but it still ended the same. That was when I finally realized I couldn't worry or preach or confront my brother into a relationship with Christ...I had to give it up to the Father. And that day God finally got through to me that I wasn't responsible for Scott's salvation.

    Yes, I was responsible to be sure he heard the truth--which he had on many occasions, delivered in a variety of forms--but I was not going to be the one to fix him. Only God could do that.

    Now I no longer preach or force anything. I simply let him know I love him, even though he rebukes every attempt. And I rest in the knowledge that God is in control...and I'm not.

    I can't fix anybody.

  4. Thanks for sharing your heart and insights, Vonda. Worry can be exhausting, huh!!
    Praising God for His work in your heart--knowing that we each need His dose of peace daily.

  5. Kathy, What a wonderful insightful message. I too, can and do take on the responsibility for things that are not in my control. I want my family to be happy, healthy and without problems...............what a load to carry !! The Lord continues to show me where my place is...........laying down the burden is so difficult sometimes. Yes, being without a husband takes some getting used to. It is like an amputation. We need to learn to lean on the Provider of our Soul..........He alone will bring the peace, fill the lonely place, and give us the desire to go on. Bless you in your ministry Jan

  6. Thanks for sharing your heart, Jan. I appreciate you allowing me to share your comments here.

  7. Janice, Vonda, and "Anonymous" :-), so loved reading your stories. God is truly working in all of us, isn't He? I really appreciate "knowing" you here. Hope you'll drop by my blog so we can chat more.

  8. 1 Peter 5:7 tells me to cast all my cares on God because He cares for me. I think of it like casting a fishing pole line. God's not talking about fly fishing were we cast out and immediately pull it back in, but He wants us to cast it out with no take backs! One time this reminder helped me was in one of my many health flare ups when I grew impatient with waiting and wanted to take control of my own situation. But I realized the only one in control is God, and sometimes it's during the wait that we learn the most.

  9. Hi Jeanne and Kathy,

    Anxiety used to have such hold on me. It wasn't until I spent digging out the root cause with God's help, that I began my healing journey. I am so thankful that I am now aware of the anxiety triggers. Every day I am learning and growing, and depending more and more on God. :)

    I am really enjoying reading Kathy's book.

  10. Anita,

    I too have experienced more awareness of my worry and fear and I know God is healing me in places.

    Thanks for sharing your heart and stopping in.

  11. I am also a worrier. So much so that I wrote a book on it to see if doing the research would help. Indeed, it does. But I'm a work-in-progress. Worriers among you might want to check out my book; I still do. It's called THE WORRYWART'S PRAYER BOOK. It's filled with Scripture, affirmations, anecdotes and prayers to help worrywarts get off the worry-go-round and trust God more. My favorite: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." Psalm 46:1, 2. I will definitely check out this new book as well. I know it will help.

    Meantime, remember, God's in charge so give all your worries to Him. He's the only one Who can make any sense of them.

  12. Allia, o, how I can relate to being a work in progress! Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing your book--I will go look it up now.
    Worry wearies the soul. I'm so thankful that it draws me nearer to the Lord who gives me strength, reminding me to focus on His faithfulness.

  13. When our daughter was in college she became engaged to a young man that we had reservations about. Instead of trying to split them up, we took the approach of welcoming him. We felt confident that if we had tried to talk her out of marrying him, she would only resist and possibly make the leap out of spite. We were at a conference and the speaker encouraged the attendees to pray about situations that troubled you. During that prayer, I knew something had happened. Things didn't change immediately, but I resisted the temptation to worry and fret. Over time their relationship deteriorated and she broke off the engagement. She is now married to a wonderful guy who is a joy to be with. To worry about her wouldn't have helped at all and only made us miserable. Standing in faith was a battle but we did and saw the victory.

  14. Awesome testimony to God's overseeing the areas that concern us, Mary. I know it couldn't have been easy--but I know I can trade my worry for trust.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Oh my goodness, this is such a good word, Kathy! It is too easy to take on a false responsibility. I've done that in churches where there was dangerous doctrine being preached. I worried about all the baby sheep in the fold and at times went forward to the pastor because of my worry for them. Needless to say, it didn't turn out well.
    I wish you all the best with your book and have it in my wish list on Amazon.
    Blessings to you!

  16. I too have struggled with worry. I often say, on the other hand, my husband "doesn't have a worry bone in his body." Even that frustrates me at times....But I guess it's good because I have worried enough for both of us. I lose sleep, I feel the effects physically, I show it in my demeanor. He, on the other hand, rests easy. My worrying doesn't get me anywhere, except that it robs me of today's joy. His lack of worry let's him enjoy today and the next and the next. I realized some time ago that my worry stems from a desire to control things. The Bible says we cannot serve two masters. When I am worrying, I am serving myself. I would much rather release the control and let my heavenly father manage it all.

    Thanks for the beautiful post!

  17. Good words for battling worry, Michelle! Thanks for sharing them with us.
    I want so much to be a Mary--but sometimes Martha lives here :)

  18. I think the better question is when hasn't worry been a part of my life. However,my greatest worry was after the death of my Dad in 2001. He'd always been my safety net since I'd never married and am single to this day.
    Faith in God was my dad's greatest gift, more than the money he would slip to me from time to time. When I couldn't do it alone, God would provide different people in my life to help tie a knot at the end of my rope.
    I doubt my life will ever be without worry, but my Lord and Savior will always be the broom to sweep it out of my life at least for the day.

  19. Maureen, thanks for sharing your heart. I know how big a place dads play in our lives--how you must miss him. Yet, it sounds as though he left you with a mighty legacy of faith and trust.
    Sweeping with a broom indeed--a great image of God's faithful attention in our lives

  20. Growing up, my father continually told me that I was stupid and would never amount to anything. I tried to win his love and approval but nothing I did was good enough.

    I carried that burden into adulthood. I worried all the time. Was I doing enough to earn someone's friendship? Was I doing enough to keep a friend's approval? To me love was conditional - based on my performance. Rejection was always one step away.

    It took many years, but God finally convinced me that His love was unconditional. I couldn't earn or lose it. Once I focused on pleasing Him instead of others, the worry and fear of rejection disappeared.

    Now I can love freely, without worry. I'm open to new friendships without the fear that I must perform to keep them.

    God has transformed me from the inside out. His love has allowed me to love myself and to enjoy relationships rather than obsess over them.

  21. I can relate to you, Sherry. Performance, fear, rejection, measuring up--it's a heavy load. God is working on me a bit at a time and I am gaining ground over worry and fear.
    Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your story.

  22. Thank you everyone for your stories and insights. I'm thrilled to connect with you all here and thanks for Jeanne Doyon again for featuring my book.

  23. Congrats to Sherry Carter for winning a copy of Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries.
    Please email me so I can find out where to send your book
    Blessings and praying it will minister to you!!

  24. Jeanne - did I already get that info to you? I think so, but memory isn't my strong point :(


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