Life is full of questions … doubts … fears. I guess you don’t need me to tell you that, huh? We all have things that we worry about, questions we want answers to, fears we don’t want to face. And on the days when those things shout too loudly at us, it’s hard to keep from worrying.
I’ve had to learn to stop worry in its tracks as soon as I recognize its presence. If I don’t, it can become overwhelming and I end up being paralyzed by it. But how do you do that?
Pray Without Ceasing
I know that feels like a simplistic answer. But if we really believe that God answers prayers, then we need to take everything to Him – even our worry. He already knows it anyway so we might as well discuss it with Him!
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. —Philippians 4:6-7, MSG
Do the Next Thing
Sometimes when worry paralyzes us, we don’t know where to turn next. The problem can loom so large that we just don’t know where to begin.
A wise friend once told me, “Just do the next thing.” You can’t worry about five steps down the road … or five minutes, hours, days or months down the road either. But you probably can figure out the next step that needs to be taken. So do it, and then look for the next thing.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. —Matthew 6:34, MSG
Get Busy with the Rest of Your Life
Surely the thing that worries you most is not the only thing you have going on in your life. Turning our attention to other things can often get us moving in the right direction. And it certainly provides some distraction from the worry. Balancing the worry with the rest of our lives can help us put that worry in the proper perspective.
… take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. —Romans 12:1, MSG
I used to pray with a group of women who adopted the question, “Why do we even bother to worry?” It seemed that there would be something going on in one of our lives and we would pray and encourage and look for God working … and yet we would still worry.
Without fail, God would ultimately answer our prayers in a way that we weren’t expecting and in a way that always revealed His glory. He was never late. He always knew exactly what was needed (even if we didn’t know that was what we needed). Of course, God answers prayers.
So why do we even bother to worry?