Do you find yourself worrying a lot? Many people do. It can be for a variety of reasons, or just one. Worrying constantly can be because of having no options in sight, or having so many options that the very thought of choosing the wrong one is scary.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
Leading a Care Free Life
It would be nice if we could all lead a worry-free life. But, how could that be possible, when even the Bible states, “Man, born of woman, is short-lived and glutted with agitation.” — Job 14:1. Therefore, the problems we encounter in our lives and the worry that soon follows are a part of life. But, that does not mean we should let our worries dominate our lives by placing them in the driver’s seat. For, the Bible warns, “Anxious care in the heart of man is what will cause it to bow down.”— Proverbs 12:25. An effective way to avoid any unnecessary worry is to control our own behavior, but that’s easier said than done--or is it? Let’s find out. The following lines are going to guide you through your worrying habits and help you find the silver lining in your life.
Realizing Worry Doesn’t Help
One of the first things that a person who finds themselves crippled by worrying constantly needs to do is realize how worrying does not help. Worrying robs you of life. It does not carry the power to prevent anything bad. On the flipside, the bad things that keep you awake at night may not even happen, so why worry since it is completely and entirely useless. And what does Jesus say about worry: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34 ESV
Differentiate Between Worry and Concern
While it is normal to be concerned about something that’s bothering you, it is not healthy to worry about it. There is a fine line between concern and worry. While the former motivates you to find a solution for the problem, or a plan to cope with the situation, the latter only makes you spiral deeper into self-doubt and depression. This results in physical and mental stress. Constantly worrying about your problems will not lead you towards a solution; rather, it distracts you from coming up with any useful and constructive solution.
Identifying the Triggers of Your Worry
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
A person may find themselves anxious with worry when they encounter a situation that leaves them feeling powerless. They may realize their financial future is shaky. The point is that worrying can be triggered by many factors. A bad day at work can leave a person feeling worried about their future career path. It is important to try to identify the triggers that lead to worry. Guard yourself against natural tendencies to worry by taking those thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), and adjusting your thinking (Philippians 4:8-9). More on that in a minute.
Make a Choice - Pray
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” — John 14:1
If you truly want to overcome worry and fear, you will have to make a decision. No matter how hard a person tries, they cannot stop bad things from happening in their lives. This is because we all live in a fallen world. We do have a choice in how we respond to those events. You can either wallow in your sadness, or you can stop dwelling on worrisome thoughts when they enter your mind through prayer. Cast your worries and concerns upon the Lord. The hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” makes an important observation: “What needless pain we bear.” Cast your cares and anxieties on Him – more on that in a minute--but remember, He loves you. He cares about every concern. Invite God into your heart to take control over the situation. Choose to pray rather than worry. Max Lucado said prayer is the opposite of worry. If you can worry, you can pray. Worry is talking to yourself about the problem. Prayer is talking to God about the problem.
Trust in God
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
God wants the best for you. He’s always with you. He can solve all your problems. But, you need to trust Him, rather than worrying constantly. Warren Wiersbe says, “Fear and faith cannot live in the same heart.” Trust any worrisome situation to God, and He will surely help you. Whenever you find yourself struggling with faith, pray and ask God to reveal what is preventing you from trusting in Him completely. Confess your lack of faith, and ask God to give you faith necessary to heal you of your worries and solve your problem.
Don’t Suppress Your Negative Thoughts, Change Them
“So, we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” — Hebrews 13:6
The more you try not to think about what is worrying you, the more pre-occupied you will be, which makes you worry about it even more. This is a vicious cycle. So, suppressing worrisome thoughts is not going to help you. You must put them off and put on wholesome, godly thoughts. Paul gives us this list in Philippians 4:8-9. Begin praying for God to renew your mind, which will help you evaluate your current situation and work towards a plan to solve that which worries you. Then, make a think list from Philippians 4. This is only possible once God shows you that the worrisome thought you were nurturing in your heart does not reflect that which is true. Once you look beyond your circumstance, you can replace that negative thought with a new one based on reality.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” — Psalm 46:1
Life oftentimes presents us with stressful situations. As a result, we succumb to fears and find ourselves constantly worrying. But, God’s grace is our ultimate source of peace, courage, and strength amid the trials that sometimes hit us like waves pounding the shore. We should be thankful (Philippians 4:6) that trust in God can calm our anxious hearts and wash away our fears by His Holy Spirit. Through Him, peace, love, and joy can flow back into our lives.