by Barb Roose
Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do,
but gets you nowhere. –Anonymous
Have you ever found yourself worrying about the bad things that could happen-whether they involve your family, your job, your finances, your health, or your future? Me too!
Have you ever spent a sleepless night worrying about the state of our nation or our world? My friend, you are not alone. If I had a pair of shoes for every time that I worried about something in my life, I’d need 100 closets to hold all of those shoes.
There have been many times in my life when I felt like I was losing the worry battle. I had so many headaches from worrying about my kids, my husband, my marriage, or my career. Oh, the hours I spent pacing the floor at night thinking, rethinking, and overthinking all of the worries in my life. Every question in my mind began with “what if” and ended with some awful worst-case scenario. I tried to control my worries by trying to control everything and everyone in my life. But that never worked!
When Jesus spoke to the crowd, I imagine that he was speaking to people just like me when he said in Matthew 6:27 (NLT), “Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life?”
That is such a powerful truth?!
One study reported that the average person worries 55 minutes per day. That’s one hour per day that you spend day-dreaming or obsession about bad things happening to you or the people that you love. This means that you spend almost an hour each day imagining or obsessing about bad things happening to you or the people that you love. Furthermore, what happens to us when we worry? We get headaches, jittery nerves, upset stomachs, and just so tired. Worry really wears us out!
Since research also tells us that 80% of what you worry about never happens, the reality is this: Your worrying time is likely wasted time. By the time that you’re 50 years old, you’ve spent over 1,000,000 minutes of your life worrying. You don’t have to live this way!
Your life is precious! Are you tired of losing the best and precious minutes of your life stressed out and sleepless from worry?
Here is a list of five healthy and productive things that you can do the next time your mind starts to fixate on “what if” worries:
- Replace “what if” with the “God if…”
Your first line of defense against worry is prayer. Now, you don’t have to be a perfect prayer to pray, just a person who is willing and humble enough to pray.
Worry is a sign that we’re trying to solve our problems on our own. Prayer is the symbol that we’re willing to let God help us with our problems. So when you think “what if,” practice saying “God, if…” and fill in your fear. That is the beginning of your prayer, friend. Be honest with God and He wants to hear what you have to say.
- Read favorite Bible verses or a devotional.
One of my favorite sayings about our mind is Beware, your mind is a dangerous neighborhood, don’t go there on your own.
If you’re in a bad place mentally, infuse your mind with a healthy voice. Keep a list of healthy Bible verses close by or pull out a devotional and fill your mind with words that will focus you on God.
- Make a gratitude list.
Author Ann Voscamp said it best when she said “Gratitude is the birthplace of joy.” We worry because we’re afraid of losing something or someone that we love or care about. So, gratitude list as an essential reminder of how God has taken care of us in the past. Give yourself a goal of writing down 100 blessings on your gratitude list. As you remember how big God is, your worries will shrink way.
- Listen to music.
Music will change your mood! I like to listen with my headphones in because they block out other distractions. If you want to really change your mood, sing-along. You can’t sing and worry at the same time! Don’t believe? Try it!
- Walk and listen to a Christ-centered or uplifting messages/podcasts.
This was my #1 go-to strategy for the past couple of summers during a very stressful time in my family’s life.
I’m sure that I looked like Forrest Gump walking and walking and walking through our neighborhood, but all of those miles really helped me in a powerful way! The physical act of walking allowed my body to release endorphins to uplift my mood so I physically felt better. Then, Christ-centered YouTube messages and podcasts kept my mind healthy, which is so, so important! By the way, it’s Podcast Week over on my Better Together podcast. Click here to listen to messages that with give you the hope, help, and the practical next steps to get better!
Some final thoughts…
Is there anything on this list that God might be nudging you to try today. It’s so important that you do anything other than nothing! BUT, you don’t have to do everything. This list provides options. You can take what you like and leave the rest.
I am not sure what you are going through right now, but I know that God is standing right next to you. And just know, that I am cheering for you.
SHARE A COMMENT: What are some healthy ways that you deal with anxiety or worry? Share your tips below and allow God to use you to bless someone else!
MORE FROM BARBROOSE.COM
Gather your friends or women at your church for my Joshua Bible study this fall! If you or someone that you know struggles with worry or anxiety, the Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle Bible Study combines powerful Biblical principles and practical tools that work to end those stressed out days and sleepless nights!
BONUS: If you host the study at your church, let me know and I’ll provide a personalized invite video that you can use on Facebook or send via Youtube. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the video.