As I sat thinking of the next passage I need to write for my book, the clouds gathered overhead. Dark, tumbling, intimidating thoughts–worries about whether the message will come out clearly or get lost in a million tangents.
Automatically, I did what I always do when I start freaking out about something: Put the energy towards something else. Something more productive.
I opened the devotional app on my phone, and there they were: the words that have been dear friends and guides to me since 23 years ago when I first discovered God’s love and redemption. They’ve walked me through high school, college, big choices, dating, marriage, births, deaths, and everything else in the past two decades.
“He will make straight your path.” – Prov 3:6
In a new moment when worry started to cloud my hope, these familiar words snapped me out of what could have become a nice, deep rut of worry.
How are you with worry today? Are you ready to send it packing? Here’s how:
Spend the energy on something else.
Become a detective. Think: Jennifer Garner in Alias, if you have to. Whatever you do, make it your job–your passion–to find evidence of where and how God’s leading you as you navigate what’s got you worried. I did this for another area I was worried about lately with one of my kids, and it led to completely unexpected results!
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
Pray. Pray for the situation you’re facing and the people involved. Pray for people you know who are struggling or worrying about issues of their own today. Pick up a newspaper and pray for situations that have people worried across the globe. Prayer is worry with feet. Use it!
“…pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16
Say it out loud. Say it to a friend, a neighbor, your cat. Getting a worry out of your head and into audible words puts the fear right in front of you, which causes a shift–either to make you realize how unrealistic the worry is, or to help you hear it in a fresh way so you can take a next step to solve the problem.
“Facing your fears [what we worry about] robs them of their power” – Mark Burnett
Read Truth to your worry. When the worry comes up, read Scripture. Start with Ephesians, to get a good handle on your position in Christ. Worry really, really hates that. It would much rather boss you around, bind you in fear. But Truth reveals worry for the sad, weakling that it is…and gives you fuel to move forward in hope.
“May my cry come before you, LORD; give me understanding according to your word [instead of according to my worry].” – Psalm 119:169
Write a letter. Choose a friend or family member, and write a real card or letter to thank them for a time they encouraged you. Feel the paper in your hands. Watch the words come from that pen. Walk it to the mailbox and breathe the fresh air. (Again, this gets us out of our heads. And, as a bonus…takes all that worried energy and puts it to good use!)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Learn something new. Read up on the issue you’re worried about. Talk with someone knowledgeable to find out how they handled it. Keep all that info in a journal or file so it’s accessible when you need it, and when you’re done studying, walk away and LEAVE the issue–and it’s worries–there. Don’t worry (ahem), it will be there when you get back. 🙂
You see, the tendency to mull over ideas itself isn’t good or bad, it’s just a feature of how your mind works. What you DO with that energy when it comes up will determine if you worry yourself in to a hole or walk yourself in to God’s presence and purpose for you.
It’s up to you.
Your friend in the fight against worry,