It is possible to overcome worry and find peace. But it is no easy task. I know, because I’m a worrier.
When I’m nervous or unsure about something, I think, rethink and rethink again all the possibilities, all the ways to approach it, overcome it, all the things that could go wrong or could go right. And it goes on and on.
I don’t exactly enjoy worrying, but it’s what I’m used to. What about you?
Has worrying become your normal? Is it something that fills your mind and fuels your energy?
If you were to list of the things that you are worried about at this exact moment, how long would the list be? Mine would consist of quite a few things.
But worry has some negative effects. When we worry these things happen:
- We focus on our circumstances and therefore are directed by them
- We focus on or lack or inability to control
- We become filled with anxiety and stress
Today we are going to look at the essential ways to combat worry and address these negative effects. You will find how to have peace and how to let go of worry.
Tip #1: Focus on God’s Will-Not Your Circumstances
Where your focus is, your heart will follow.
I have found that when I’m focusing on everything I’m struggling with or all the bad around me, I become weighed down by the hopelessness and the worry that surrounds me.
You can’t find peace when you’re focus is on your circumstances. It is in these times that you have to rely on God’s sufficiency.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
The key words in this verse is at the proper time you will reap a harvest. How many of us just want God to answer our prayers in our own timing?
I can’t tell you how much stress, discouragement and worry have come as a result of God not answering in my timing and when I think I need something.
But more often than not, looking back, I clearly realize that God’s timing was exactly what I needed. I just didn’t know it at the time.
It’s in these moments that I realize the wisdom and truth in these powerful words in Proverbs:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6
God is working to make your paths straight. He is working in you and through you. When you fear your circumstances have overtaken, turn your eyes to the Lord and trust in Him with all our heart.
This will cause worry to melt away and God’s peace to fill your mind and heart.
Tip #2: Surrender Control to the One Who is In Control
The desire for control is at the root of worry. It’s something I desperately want when things get tough.
I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime feeling out of control. And because of this, when things get hard, control is the one thing I try to hold on to.
If you take an honest look at your worry, a lot of the time it’s based on the desire to know what will happen next or how to achieve the desired outcome. But when you focus on this, you allow Satan a wide open door to attack.
This is because no matter how hard we try to control the things happening to us and around us, God is ultimately the one in control. It’s scary thinking that someone else has total control. But that’s where it is crucial to trust that God is working for your good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
He knows exactly what you need and exactly where your heart is. And He is working to redeem and restore your heart. If you can rely on this promise, then worry will fade into the background.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
The next time you fear surrendering control, remember that God is sufficient and that He is working for your good. I encourage you to spend time memorizing these verses to use as tools when your mind finds its way into worry.
Tip #3: Fill Your Mind With Good Thoughts to Combat Anxiety
Paul gives us a detailed description of how to combat worry and anxiety. We are to present our requests to Him in prayer and with thanksgiving first.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7
So when you are worried about something, first take it to God. Ask Him for peace and for what you need. Paul says this is the first thing we should do to find peace in our worry.
But these next verses are some of my favorites when it comes to combating worry or anxiety.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:8-9
We are to fill our minds with these good things. This is the exact opposite of how worry operates.
When we worry, we fill our minds with our fears, expectations, circumstances and troubles. When we worry, we fill our minds with plans for control, ideas for our own peace and the lies we believe about getting there.
And when your mind is filled with these things, there is no room for true peace and rest.
In order to overcome worry and find peace, you must fill your mind with the truth.
One way that I seek to do this is to memorize Scripture. Sometimes I memorize verses like these to combat worry and sometimes I choose verses about the specific thing I am worried about. And when I find my mind wandering into the pit of worry, I replace my thoughts with these Scriptures.
Sometimes, I even repeat one verse over and over until I find that worry has dissipated and peace has replaced it.
You can find peace, even if worry is second nature to you. It will take hard work and commitment to changing the way you think, but God wants to redeem this part of you.
The next time you find yourself stuck in the pit of worry, be sure to focus on God’s sufficiency and not your circumstances, surrender control to the One who is in control and to fill your mind with truth and good thoughts. In doing these three things, you will overcome worry and find peace.
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