We talked about worry yesterday, a topic I’ve touched on several times in the past years. So for today’s tip, I wanted to list some practical tools that I’ve picked up along the way to help combat worry.
This is not some form of weird penance. I take a rubber band and write a verse on it, usually Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Obviously you need a wide rubber band and some tiny handwriting. Stretch that sucker out and write the verse, or part of the verse. This allows me to meditate on the words, glance at the verse every time my eyes go to my watch, and occasionally pop myself with the band if I’m on a worry cycle headed to nowhere but anxiety. That little pop can sometimes pull me out and force me to acknowledge my anxieties rather than letting them take over my thoughts.
Face the alternative.
Take out your journal and open it to a new page. Write out Philippians 4:5-7. “Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Now translate this verse into your own version of worries. For example…
“Let your fear be evident to all for the Lord is distant. Be anxious about everything, but in everything, by making lists and keeping yourself awake at night, with complaining, present your worries to yourself. And the weight of the world and all the problems that could happen, and all the things that did happen, and everything that might happen, will keep your hearts and minds captives to worry.” (Ginger 4:5-7)
Refreshing way to live, isn’t it? What would your verse say about the way you live your life? Is it plagued by worry, or have you come to the point where you realize your best chance is to give up and trust?
Read the book of Joshua.
Whenever I’m coming down with a case of mental “shaking knees” I spend some time reading about Israel’s worried leader. Over and over God tells Joshua to “BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS!”
After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:
“In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:1,5-9, MSG)
Fight like you mean it.
Resist the urge to simply flick your hand at worry like a gnat. If worries take more of your thought life than prayer or gratitude, take a firm stand and commit to working on this struggle. Take your thoughts captive, don’t let them run you around. Wake up each morning with a song of thanksgiving in your heart rather than worries on your lips. (Easier said than done, right?) Just like any discipline this will take practice. Don’t give up- it’s worth it.