I’ll be honest, worry has been something I have struggled with over the years. Worry about where my family is going to be assigned next; worry about my children and if I’m being a good mom; worry about finances, worry about long flights and how my kids are going to do, worry if I am walking out my calling. You name it, I’ve probably worried about it. It’s something that the Lord is continually bringing me greater freedom in and something I know He wants to bring to you to if worry is something you struggle with.
Worry can really lead you down a hopeless road, almost suffocating you, consuming your life. I feel like it has a snowball effect as well. Worry leads to more worry. I looked up some antonyms to worry and here are a few:
trust, calmness, contentment, peace, pleasure, joy
I want those things! Yes, I will take an extra helping of joy today. I realize that my thoughts are so powerful. This is becoming more and more real to me, especially as I have recently gone through some of the hardest months of my life. What we do focus our mind on truly does affect us. I think there is a reason the Bible says to dwell on what is lovely and pure and true. (Phil. 4:8)
I’ve heard it said that worry is like sitting in a rocking chair waiting for it to go somewhere. But we all know, it never does. “Don’t worry about it, it will work out fine,” our friends tell us. And it usually does. I heard of a guy once who had a worry box. Every time he had a worry he wrote it down and placed it in the box. Then on Wednesdays he would allow himself to have a time where he read them all and he gave himself permission to worry. But it was only for a short while, and it had to be on a Wednesday. What he found was that when Wednesday rolled around, almost everything he had written down and put in the box had already been taken care of. Imagine if he would have wasted all that time worrying for nothing!
The definition of worry is “give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulties or trouble. I think a root of worry is lack of control. We want something to go a certain way but it isn’t. Or we don’t yet know the outcome so we worry, even though the bible says worry doesn’t add a single hour to our lives (Matthew 6:27). We have to surrender and give whatever our worry is to the Lord. Another root of worry is not trusting the Lord. He says He works things for the good of those that love Him (Romans 8:28) and to trust in Him and not lean on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
He is faithful. He is good. He will never leave us. I think the thing we were going to worry about is an invitation to trust the Lord in a deeper way, to draw close to Him. I find that much of what I worry about is in my imagination. A good friend said to me once, “God doesn’t give us grace for our imagination, but He does give us grace in the moment.” That has stuck with me ever since!
With all that said there IS hope, because there IS a God who IS real and who IS committed to bringing us freedom. Here are some simple and practical ways to bring freedom from worry that have helped in my own life:
#1 Repent of worry.
Tell the Lord you’re tired of worrying and surrender your worries to Him.
#2 Choose your thoughts wisely.
When thoughts do enter your mind choose to discard them if they aren’t true or lovely. Choose to believe them if they are good.
#3 Trust the Lord!
Say out loud, “I trust you Jesus.”
#4 Fill your mind with truth & positivity.
Listen to worship music or sermons. Hang out with friends who are positive.
#5 Turn your worries into prayers.
I love the message version of Phil. 4:6-7. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Love love love that SO much!
Share out loud what you’re thankful for and or write it down. You will find it’s hard to worry after being thankful. Thankfulness also opens the door for God’s kingdom to come in a greater measure in your life.
#7 Breathe. Rest.
Do something you love to do. Get out of your mind for a bit.
#8 Control the 10% of the things you are actually able to control and let God control the rest.
You can only control yourself…not how others respond or act including your spouse and kids! This has been revolutionary to me. I can only control myself. That’s all I am responsible for.
Worry still plaguing you? Try the worry box idea.
Maybe you’re already doing these things. That’s awesome. If you aren’t, try incorporating them into your life and see the tangible change. God doesn’t want us to waste our time worrying or trying to control things that were never meant for us to control. He has much better plans and purposes for our life. TRUST Him, He is a good Father.
What about you? Is worry something that tries to get you down? Or have you found freedom from worry? I would love to hear from you!