Do you struggle to maintain peace? Are you a chronic worrier? Are you sick of being stressed? You can overcome your anxiety!
I’ve been known to worry about everything. Marriage and family matters – how will we make it through? Natural disasters – earthquakes make the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Finances – my own and the global economy. What if the whole world goes bankrupt? Will my friend find her lost dog? Will Kelly ever eat his vegetables, or will he finally overdose on chips and pop? How do we stop it?
Become aware of your anxious thoughts.
Worry! Why won’t it stop? What does it solve? I read this quote, “I got behind on my bills so I resolved to worry my way out of debt. And you know it worked! A few sleepless nights, a day of puking and hand wringing. I yelled at my kids and took some pills and voila! money appeared on my desk.” It sounds silly, but in one sense this is what we do to solve our problems. It’s not working!
Like a giant vortex, worry spins you out of control, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The end result is anxiety, depression, an overall sense of hopelessness. Can you imagine never being anxious about anything? Is that even possible? It starts with being aware.
Understand what you can control
If you are focused on how “you” have to resolve your situation, no wonder you are a mess, loved one. You can’t control anything, except your own choices. Proverbs 3:5. The sooner you let go, the sooner God can act on your behalf. The opposite of worry is a confident trust – in the LORD. Commit to yourself to trust God. Wait for his perfect timing.
We really have control over so little. The world is bent on destruction and we can’t stop it. Jesus made it clear, there is no such thing as a trouble free life. Peace, however, is your God-given right! Without exception.
True peace is not found in the absence of conflict or trouble. It comes from knowing God is in control. It comes from trusting that God has YOUR best interests at heart. I have experienced extended periods of inner-calm, despite some extremely difficult circumstances. So, I know peace is possible. I also know that I can’t manufacture it on my own. I can, however, implement the disciplines and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. The Bible gives some practical advice on this subject.
Take every anxious thought captive
You can’t will yourself to stop thinking in negative patterns. For example – if I tell you, “don’t think about chocolate,” what are you going to think about? You know you want some. :-). You can’t simply empty your mind of worrisome thoughts, either. You can, however, override wrong thoughts with truth. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…think about these things”. Phil.4:8.
You put a lot of time and energy into thinking negative thoughts. Since you can’t think two thoughts at once, spend half the time and invest it in searching scripture. See what God has to say about your specific situation. In the back of your Bible you’ll find a list of topics. Read the related text – out loud – repeatedly. Commit the verses to memory.
Praying for power
There is no substitute for deep, meaningful, extended, conversations with God. “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6. Exalt God in your prayer and not your situation. Even this morning as I was writing this, troubled thoughts threatened to invade my peace bubble. When you start to worry – get on your knees! Repeat as necessary.
It gives God glory when your heart is at rest in Him. I’ve tested these disciplines. The amount of time and energy you put into these disciplines will be in direct proportion to the amount of peace you have in your life. The Bible invites you to seek peace. Not only is peace possible – it’s your right. Don’t you want it?
I’m moving beyond worry. Care to join me?
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