There sure are lots of things today we could be worrying about. The news is full of topics like hurricanes, nuclear missiles, racial protests, and terrorist attacks. Many people deal with anxiety related to health, finances, and relationship problems. One of the keys to stopping worry is focusing on God and his will. When we are passionate about doing his will, our own personal concerns and anxieties begin to shrink. A great love can inspire, intensify, purify, and dominate a person’s whole being. What if that great love is for God? If you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will stop worrying. Isaiah 26:3 says of God, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Another key to stopping worry is living life one day at a time. Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34). There is nothing wrong with planning for the future so long as we don’t let it open the door to worrying about the future. I once read about a missionary woman who said, “The thought of the next ten years scares me, but the thought of the next twenty-four hours doesn’t.” In his grace, God doesn’t show us the next ten years of our life. We probably couldn’t handle that knowledge without worrying. But through God’s grace, we can live life one day at a time without worry.
The best thing to do with worries is to turn them into prayers. The Apostle Paul tells us what to do with the things that make us anxious:
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. (Phil 4:6–7)
The best thing to do when anxiety begins to bubble up, when fears begin to grip our heart, or when bad scenarios start to come to mind is to stop at once and admit that we have worries—then turn them into prayers. This has worked for me, and it will work for you. The future may bring big problems, but that isn’t where our focus should be. Our focus should be on the one who takes us though our problems one day at a time. Some things will be overwhelming to us, but we don’t have to worry—nothing overwhelms God! Life is too short to worry all the time.
I have created a new habit for myself in the morning. When my alarm goes off, I swing my legs over the side of the bed and sit on the edge of the bed for a moment. Then I put my hands up to symbolize offering my body as a daily living sacrifice. Next I leave one hand up and ask God to hold my hand and walk with me throughout the day. I love the lines from the song, “I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”
Reflections: Try to develop the habit of intentionally pausing to pray every time you catch yourself worrying. Find a way to regularly visualize reaching your hand up to God and allowing him to hold your hand and walk with you through each day.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.