This past week, I had the privilege of meeting with a church book club that had chosen my book, Letting Go of Worry as their reading selection. I made a brief presentation and then opened the floor for questions and comments. It was obvious. There is much to worry about if we allow ourselves to be anxious.
In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged His disciples to make up their minds not to worry. They were facing persecution and imprisonment. Either of these situations would cause most of us to worry. But Jesus’ words indicate that we have a choice not to worry, that we must decide time and again not to allow worry into our lives and steal our peace.
Because worry is in the mind, it is a mental habit that must be broken. Here are a few practical tips to help break the worry habit:
1) Identify the thought behind the anxious feeling.
2) Let it come and don’t try to suppress it with thoughts like, “Stop worrying!” “Don’t do this!”… etc. The more you try not to worry, the more you will worry. It’s like dieting. The more you try not to think about food, the more you think about food.
3) Look at the thought and decide if it is true. Do this by judging it against the Word of God. For example, “I will never get a job in this economy.” Think, Is God on my side? Is He for me? Will He help me when I do all I can and there is nothing more to do? Does He promise to provide for my needs?
4) Replace your wrong thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.
5) Trust God to be who He says He is and do what He says He will do.
Jesus would not command us to give up worry if it wasn’t possible. His prescription is to take those worried thoughts captive and replace them with the truth about His character and love for us.
Basically, we need to confine those worried thoughts and not allow them to wander in to the waters of anxiety. Once confined, we think on good things.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Fill your thoughts with His promises and goodness. The result is that the worried thought will leave you. So make up your mind not to worry.