We were not designed to live with worry. The Bible gives us many things to do to help us eliminate worry from our lives. The YouVersion Bible app sent out a list of their top bookmarked verses. The top verse bookmarked was Philippians 4:6 a verse that step by step helps us deal with worry. It says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” And the result of this: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) So here are the steps:
1. Bring everything to God in prayer.
Pastor Rick Warren once said, “If it is big enough to worry about it is big enough to pray about.” This is a good habit. The practice of bringing things to God what we have no control over frees us to focus on the things we can accomplish. Richard Foster put it this way, “It may be helpful to picture a box in which we place every worry and every care. When it is full, we gift-wrap it, placing a lovely big bow on top, and give it up as a present to the Father. God receives it, and we must not take it back, for to take back a gift once given is most discourteous.” (Sanctuary of the Soul p 63-64)
The practice of thankfulness is like water on the fire of worry. I take a whole chapter in my book Enjoying Prayer to talk about the impact that thankfulness had on my life. Using a notebook I listed 5 things every day that I was thankful for that day. It had a profound impact on my life and something similar could do the same for you. It seems like a simple thing but the impact of thankfulness has a surprising effect on worry.
3. Develop habits to focus on God.
If we are going to bring our worry to God we need to get our mind on Him. A great thought from one of my college professors was, “Whatever you focus on becomes bigger.” If you focus on your problems they become bigger and bigger and if you focus on God you see how big He is around you. A simple application of this for my life is that I have not watched the local news for years. There are less than a handful of times that this has even mattered and I have less negativity in my life. I have other habits that help me keep my focus on God. By eliminating some of the negative things in my life and adding things that help me focus on God helps cut out some of the “easy” things to worry about in life.
This post does not mean that I am never tempted to worry, but these simple practices help me eliminate some from even coming and gives me tools to fight worry when it comes.
Action item: Take one of these three areas and take action on it in the next 5 minutes.
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