Some people worry a lot. We worry about bills to pay, grades to keep up, relationships to maintain, college applications to complete. News of shootings and terrorists adds stress to our lives. People pleasers want everyone to think well of them, so they worry about messing up or even making someone else look bad. We worry we won't live up to other people's expectations. We even worry about worrying! Will worry affect my health? Does worrying mean I am not trusting God?
When we catch ourselves worrying, we need to take a step back and put things into perspective: God cares about us. God has the power to take care of our needs and He knows what is going on in our life and loves us dearly. Worrying is like saying that God is not in control and that our circumstances are greater than God can handle. Learning to trust God more and to worry less isn't easy.
Here's a couple of tips for breaking the worry habit...
- Bring all your worries to God, no matter how small. Pray for God's help and wisdom.
- When stress ramps up, go for a walk or do some jumping jack's. Even brief exercise helps to calm our thoughts.
- Label worry as an indication that something may be wrong.
- Write down your worry. Putting it on paper helps to shrink the worry to its actual size.
- Determine your worry's category: green light or red light.
- Green light worries can be tackled with God's help.
- Focus on one issue at a time to keep your thoughts from becoming jumbled and confused.
- Look to someone trustworthy for advice.
- Music helps to calm and motivate.
- Red light worries are out of our control and need to be given into God's hands.
- Memorize scripture. Matthew 6:25-34 is written specifically about worry.
- Find someone who needs help and help them. Getting your mind off yourself will give you peace.
- Remember how God has helped you to solve a problem or to move past a negative situation.
- Find someone wise who has lived through a similar issue and ask for counsel.
Every time a worry arises, ask God for wisdom before you do anything else. Feel free to keep your prayer short and direct, but be as specific as possible: "Dear God, please help me with _____. Amen."