Worry consumes, depletes, distracts and defeats. Worry robs our joy. But, we all do it. So how do we overcome the worry and fear that seems to paralyze us? In the last Get Real post, we looked at some of the root causes of worry. Worry is sin. It is unbelief and a lack of trust and confidence in God. Worry is reliance upon self instead of trusting the Almighty, all-sufficient, all-powerful God, Creator and Sustainer of all things! Today, let’s look at some practical steps we can take to replace our spirit of worry and find some freedom and peace.
“Worry flows out of a distorted or incomplete view of God’s nature and character.” —Elyse Fitzpatrick
Let’s remind ourselves of the biblical definition for worry and then look at 1 Peter 5:5-7 for some practical ways we can overcome worry and release ourselves from its bondage and stranglehold:
- Anxiety – “merimna” – to be drawn in different directions; to be thoughtful, anxiety about things pertaining to this earthly life.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:5-7
Stop the distraction that is dividing and disrupting your thought life. As I read through Matthew 6:25-31, I began to notice all the questions Jesus posed in those few short verses. It was like in each one He was saying, “stop it”. When in worry mode, we need to mentally and verbally tell ourselves to STOP. When I’m in worry mode, I find it helpful to just tell myself to “Stop It!” and I often do that aloud!
Don’t let yourself continue down the spiral. Recognize you are trusting in the flesh/self instead of God. Acknowledge you’ve elevated your thoughts to a god-like position by trusting in your own strength and abilities. Resolve to end that worry cycle from continuing its downward tailspin. If we don’t, it becomes a vortex that sucks us down and paralyzes us. It can make us fearful and anxious over future events that may or may not ever happen. I call these “vain imaginings” (and most of mine, never come to pass!) Worry consumes and depletes our energy and strength. Worry robs us of joy. So let’s STOP IT!
#2 DROP: Pray! Acknowledge and confess your worry as sin.
1 Peter 5:6 tells us to humble ourselves under God’s might hand.
- humble – tapeinoō – to make low; to lower or depress; of one’s soul, bring down one’s pride, to have a modest opinion of one’s self, to behave in an unassuming manner, devoid of all haughtiness.
In humility, we drop to our knees (literally or figuratively), we acknowledge and confess before God that this anxious thought that is consuming us is sin.
When we humble ourselves, we assume a posture of surrender. We are no longer trying to control things. We are willing to lower ourselves to a position where we accept God’s sovereignty in our lives and trust in His strength, rather than relying on our own. Knowing that He is for us and that He is working to conform us more each day to the image of Christ Jesus.
Humbling ourselves before God will shift our focus, which is exactly what we need! We need focus our gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
“God, expose any area of my life where I have believed a lie. Father, I believe you love me and whatever truth you give me in that area I will embrace. I will live it out. Lord, renew my mind with that truth.” (Steve Hammack, Pastor, Anchor Church, Grayson, GA)
#3 THROW: Release the worry. Throw it off. Cast it aside.
1 Peter 5:5 tells us to cast our cares upon him, for he cares for us.
- cast – epiripto– to throw upon, place upon, to give up to
When that worrying thought assails us, we need to throw it off and give it up to God. This is the time we need rehearse God’s attributes. Remind yourself of who God is. Then, renew your mind with truth. Cast off worry and replace it with the truth of who God is and what He has done. It’s helpful to think the worry through, in a productive manner by asking ourselves some questions:
- Is this something I can control or do something about? If so, then what can I do?
- Is this something out of my control? If so, then release it into God’s hands and rest in His provision and protection.
- Is this something out of my control, but a situation in which God is calling me to pray for someone and release them into His care?
- What does this worry reveal about my heart? Is this an area where I am not trusting or relying upon God?
I find it helpful to declare His praises and remind myself of truth from His word by speaking it aloud and praying it back to Him. (You’ve probably noticed I talk to myself a lot! But hey, it works!)
#4 GO: Remind yourself of God’s truth and MOVE ON!
1 Peter 5:6 tells us that God will lift us up in due time and 5:10 tells us that at the right time, God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us.
Renew your mind with the truths of God’s Word. Rehearse His attributes and character. Remind yourself of how you have seen God’s faithfulness in the past. Then, Rest in Him! Don’t remain stuck, waiting for worry to hit you again. Move on, go forward, resting and trusting our God, who is the Heart-Knower, Almighty, Faithful, Eternal, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! He is our Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Protector, Burden Bearer and the Lover of our Souls!
GO about your day. When that worrisome or anxious thought creeps up again repeat the process beginning with STOP!
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4-7
©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com