Friday, March 21, 2014

The One-Two Punch To Overcome Worry

OK -  I know - we're not supposed to worry. But as humans, we all tend to do it. I think it's one of our most negative inherent traits. So, why is it so bad to worry? One reason is that it produces nothing but anxiety and stress. And more often than not, the things we worry about either never happen or they simply work themselves out. Because of that, worry is usually a waste of time, as we go on and on, tormenting ourselves with worst-case-scenarios. Not only will constant worry drive you crazy, it can actually be detrimental to your health. Simply put, worry doesn't do us any good. "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (the words of Jesus, Matthew 6:27)

Perhaps the strongest case against worry is that it is diametrically opposed to our faith and trust in God. That's why Jesus seemed disgusted when the disciples were afraid they were going to die because of the storm on the sea, even though Jesus was with them.  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26)

I'm not saying it's easy to stop worrying. As for myself, I don't know if I can completely overcome it. But lately, I've discovered a way to reduce it, and I want to share this plan with you. It works for me, and perhaps it will help you too, in trying to take steps to conquer worry.

Lately, my worries have been about my children. Naturally, as a dad, I'm concerned about their well being. What makes things worse is that they are scattered around the world. My son, daughter-in-law, and my grandson live in Africa. My youngest daughter is back-packing in Western Europe and will eventually be in the Philippines for 2 months before returning home. My other daughter and her husband live in Tennessee (I never knew Tennessee was so close to Delaware). None of them are near by.

I've caught myself worrying about their health, safety, provision, etc. However, over time, I've found a one-two punch combination that has really helped me to the point that I've found some peace of mind. Here it is:

The One-Two Punch To Overcome Worry

1. Pray Specific Requests
First, whatever it is that is worrying you, pray specifically to God about it. Ask God for His providence, His intervention, His hand to work in your favor. For whatever specific situation you are concerned about, ask for the outcome that you desire. In this way, you are casting all your anxiety on Him, for Him to handle, allowing Him to take control.  After all, that's what He wants us to do. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)

2. Then Pray "The Prayer of Trust"
Once you pray a specific prayer, then follow up with what I call "The Prayer Of Trust". I came up with this prayer after realizing that in my worry, I was not turning my concerns over to God, not trusting in Him. I was just leaving things to happen by chance. I realized that worry was a weakness, perhaps a weakness in my faith in God! Once I began admitting this, and praying this prayer, I felt peace. Here is "The Prayer Of Trust". Feel free to quote it and take it as your own.

The Prayer of Trust:  "Lord, please forgive my tendency to worry, and help me to take this worry that I have and replace it with Trust in You."

It's all about transforming worry energy into trust energy. And that's done with God's help, through prayer. The next time worry pops up, and it will, the quicker you fight it, the better. Remember the combo: Specific Prayer + Trust. This one-two combination may not be a knock-out punch, but it certainly will do some heavy damage in the battle against worry. God does not want us being anxious about anything. Instead, He wants us to give it all to Him, let Him handle it, and trust Him with the outcome. His desire for us is to have peace, not fear and worry. And that is so comforting to know.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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." (Philippians 4:4-6)

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