WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE WORRIED
If you we’re worried, you aren’t alone. A recent Gallup poll indicates sixty percent of people worry nationwide.
We all worry at one time or another. But we don’t have to stay worried, and as Christian women who believe and follow Jesus we certainly don’t have to live life worried. In fact, we’re commanded not to worry.
Some women think being worried more means they love more. Not true. Worry sucks love and trust out of relationships and can dominate them with fear. After all, worry’s goal is to keep us frozen and living smaller lives than God ever imagined or intended.
Check Your Worry Meter
Maybe you grew up surrounded by people who worried or through no fault of your own lived in difficult circumstances so worry became your go-to response. Unfortunately, when we walk through life with worry as our overall attitude it deeply affects our spiritual, mental, social, and physical well-being. If you’re lacking in peace and feel lost without a sense of purpose … check your worry meter.
What Are You Thinking?
A worrisome lifestyle happens mainly because we allow ourselves to think about and train our minds on the fear-filled things we hear, see, and experience. In Greek the word ‘anxious’ used in Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious for anything, is originally stated as, Do not give thought to. In other words, don’t think about what you’re worrying about.
If you’ll notice, the words do not don’t indicate a request. They are a command. And like all of God’s commands to his children, they are meant for your good. I’m sure you’d agree, worrying isn’t good for you.
Where Are You Steering?
Lisa Terkeurst says it this way: We steer where we stare. When we’ve steered ourselves straight into a wall of worry, we need to change our focus.
But if we’re not going to give thought to or stare at what worries us, if we’re going to break through the anxiety that keeps us stuck, then there must be a different direction we are to steer.
There is. Psalm 37:3-7 provides four things we can quickly do to help displace worry and anxious thoughts as they appear.
What You Can Do Instead of Worry
Trust in the Lord. When we worry, we attempt to control the thing that worries us. As women of faith, we know we aren’t in control, God is. Why not trust the one who can do the right, best thing in our circumstances? Our trust grows with prayer. Prayer is our line of communication with the Lord. When you notice you’re worrying, immediately replace the worry with a sincere prayer. Philippians 4:6’s commands: Don’t worry about anything. Then adds: Instead, pray about everything. Who we turn to first is whom we trust most.
Take delight in the Lord. Exchange your worry for praise. Delight and give thanks to the Lord for all he has done, is doing, and will do in, through, and for you! Shout your praise, dance, sing, and enjoy his goodness and presence. This might seem easier to do when you’re alone, but if you’re with other people remember, God is glorified and pleased when you honor him before others. So go ahead, do a little dance for his name’s sake.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. As you pray, give all you posses—your life, your family, your work and your worries—to the Lord believing he can care better for you and those you love than you can. As in trusting the Lord, committing everything you do and have to him requires remembering you are not in charge, he is.
Be still and wait patiently. If you’ve turned everything over to the Lord, if you’re trusting, and delighting in him then you are in the right position to receive the answer to your prayers—as you wait. Patiently waiting is the key. In my experience, patience is learned and developed through our trusting prayers, delighting in, and committing everything to the Lord. In the waiting, we experience spiritual and personal growth. We begin to be more like Christ who, by the way, never worries.
One last thing, all these godly instructions require humility, a bowing down of our hearts and our lives to the One who tells us we need not worry.
When you notice you’re worried, you can know you are staring at the wrong thing. Quickly refocus applying these instructions. Then, keep doing them. Make them an ongoing practice. You’ll soon notice you’re living your faith, worrying less, and experiencing more peace.