Before I begin, I need to tell you that what I am about to say is very simple. It came to me while listening to a sermon from Andy Stanley on worrying. And he got it from God, so all glory to him. While this may be simple, if you really let it sink in, it will completely transform the way you think about your life.
Here's how my mind works: I have a work project or a paper that's due in a day or two. I worry about when I can work on it. Then, when I actually sit down to work, I worry about whether I'm going to finish in time or whether it's good enough. Annoying, I know.
But let's break that process down. I worry about time to work. While working, I worry about finishing and the quality of my work. Notice that during each phase, I worry.
Now, let's move to the finished product. I've finished my paper. I can be stress-free now, but what part in the process did worrying play? Did it improve the quality of my work? Did it make me work faster? No. It just clotted my mind with "what ifs." Not once in my life have I ever done something great and said to myself, "Yes! This could not have been possible without all that worrying!"
This is the truth behind what Jesus says in Matthew 6:27 - "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Do not misunderstand. God is not patronizing us with a simple - "everything is going to be fine, don't worry." He is telling us that worrying adds no practical value to the outcome of what we're worrying about.
The only practical things we can bring to the equation are prayer and hard work. The rest is up to God - good or bad.