Last Sunday, I shared some critical tools for dealing with worry. We defined worry as the subtle fear that things will not turn out the way we hoped or the inability to control what we feel we need to control. It is particular deadly because it convinces us that our fears are more important than our hopes.
Most people deal with worry in some capacity and I’ve noticed that Christians who worry often deal with undue shame since Scripture tells us we are not supposed to, in fact, worry. However, I think we have misunderstood what God is saying and what the purpose of this anxiety producing emotion is really meant to be.
In case you missed it, here are the highlights.
- Worry is God-given to emotionally force us to recognize that He is God and we are not.
- You start dealing with worry by naming it. Determine what the root of your fear is and share it with God and someone that you can trust to give wise counsel.
- Acknowledge your need of God and recognize that He is our rock because we are incapable of being strong by ourselves once we see as God sees.
- Give your worry (and it’s consequences) to God. You will never overcome your worry and fear unless you lean on the one who is never touched by it. This involves repenting of our need to control, falling on our knees in humility to pray, asking God to help us see as He sees and to hear directly from Him. God is trustworthy. He is working for our greatest good. We can know that no matter what, He is with us through it all.
- Finally, celebrate the goodness of God. I have found it very difficult to be dominated by worry while I am praising God.
In addition, I want to encourage you to also consider what is going on physically while you worry. The link between our bodies, minds, and emotions is not easy to understand. At times our adrenaline may increase, our breathing may quicken, and our hearts may pound. It is a physical indicator that something is wrong. If you are a chronic worrier, your mind and emotions may interpret it as impending doom. What it may be saying is that you are just stressed or tired. There are 2 things that I have found to help me deal with the physical implications of stress and worry.
- Exercise. Your body needs more exercise than you are likely giving it. It will lower your adrenaline, increase your endorphins (the good feel stuff), and help your body handle (and get rid of) stress better.
- Sleep. As I’ve aged, the #1 activity that I have found to combat stress and worry is rest. I don’t mean that you sleep all the time to escape, but many worriers do not get enough rest. If I have not regularly had 8 hours of sleep, my capacity to deal with worry and (honestly) to see the world clearly is greatly diminished. When we rob our mind and emotions of rest, they are not able to cope with the stresses that each day brings. If you are crippled by worry right now and you are not getting enough sleep…go take a nap and go to bed early tonight. You will be surprised how much brighter tomorrow will appear.
Worry is an invitation to lean on God. Once you begin to recognize this, you will find that life is not as overwhelming as it sometimes feels.
Trusting God with you,