Many ancient pagans participated in idol worship. These pagans had daily practices associated with these lesser gods; deeds which often required a great devotion of time and energy. 

This is no different from how we worship the One True God. We pray, go to church, and participate in other Christ-like behaviors in order to grow closer to God.

Or, at least, we should.

In this modern, secular world, few people actually worship the pagan gods of old. Nowadays, our focus is driven back into ourselves. We are constantly encouraged to look inward. And while self-reflection is important, this can easily turn into self-obsession and the worship of our own internal experiences. 

Most prevalently, anxiety consumes the time, energy and focus of many people today. It seems everyone is constantly fretting every terrible thing that could or has befallen them, from a simple bungled social interaction to their own demise. The fallen world is certainly a scary place, but is all this worry truly necessary?

Do we really need to waste the time God has given us for prayer and worship with overthinking and nervous thumb-twiddling? 

Do we really think that our lives can be improved through these worrisome thoughts? 

Will any of this change the will of the Lord?

It is foolish of us to think that we can, metaphorically, call God down into such an idol. One that can be controlled and manipulated. So that we might know everything in His plans and be able to make requests as we see fit. 

This is not how we are called to treat our God. He is not a wish granter. He is not easily swayed. Yet, we act as though our worrying might have an effect on His plans for us.

Why do any of us behave as though this is the case? In the midst of the chaos that permeates the fallen world we live in, we humans strive for control. And in our attempt to garner even an inkling of such control, we lose our sense of gratitude. We take for granted everything the Lord has provided us with so that we might fret the day away. Losing sight of God and His love for us slowly turns us into pessimistic, unloving and unfeeling people. 

What a terrible way to live.

Father Stephen DeYoung says "All worship has a transformative effect on the worshiper,".  Worshiping our own wills and letting our anxieties have free reign over our minds negatively transforms our souls. We become bitter. We become paranoid. We grow more pessimistic and are less present at times of prayer, times of joy and even times of sorrow. This is not God's intention for our lives.

How unfortunate would our situations be if we were given everything we desired? I truly believe that being subject to the whims of our own will would destroy us and prevent us from growing into the people God desires us to be.

So how do we tear down the idol of fear and worry, and place our trust in God?

Speaking from my own experience, prayer is a good place to start. Start out simple. Make the sign of the cross and say "Thy will be done". Do this often. Whenever worry strikes. It takes work, but after a while it should become a nearly unconscious practice.

When bigger worries strike, take a second to step back and breathe. In The Ascetic Lives of Mothers: A Prayer Book for Orthodox Moms by Annalisa Boyd, there is a lovely prayer for anxious mothers, that anyone could benefit from:

Dear Lord, have mercy on me.

My thoughts are unyielding but I know You are more powerful.

Thank You that You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, of a sound mind.

Help me not to despair but to draw closer to You.

Let me not forget the challenges of this world are great, but You are greater still.

For You are holy now and ever and unto the ages of ages.


Along with prayer, we also need to confess our sin of self-will. In doing this, we mend our relationship with God and make the commitment to put our trust back in Him. Sometimes, it may even take therapy to have consistent practice in working through these feelings. It is of the utmost importance that we are held accountable for our self-will, that we might right our frame of mind and be less anxious in the future.

The fallen world is a terrifying place, and all of its misdeeds are amplified and and incessantly repeated by today's media. It can draw our focus away from the truth and light of our Lord. But with proper spiritual care, we can realign our focus towards what is beautiful, noble and righteous in the sight of God.