Here are five practical ways to help you ward off worry.
Look Back at God’s Faithfulness
I know that prayer journals are very helpful when we are going through periods of worry. Many times I dated my prayer requests so that I could look back and see just how faithful God has been in helping me through difficult times. I see so many answers to my prayers that it is hard not to trust Him with the ones I am presently experiencing. If you are going through a time of worry right now, stop and look back at the many times when God came through for you and think about how He has helped you through these seemingly impossible situations. We know that God cares for even the tiny sparrow, as “even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself” (Psalm 84:3a). How much more of value are you to Him than they?
Worry Is Wasted Energy
Jesus once said, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” (Matt. 6:27). The obvious answer is you cannot add a single day by worrying. On the contrary, worry can shorten your life by weakening your immune system and making you more vulnerable to disease and sickness. Further, our Lord says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Matt. 6:25), for “the flowers of the field grow [and] they do not labor or spin” (Matt. 6:28). If you have something you’re worried about and can’t change it, pray about it; if you can change it, change it!
Worry Is a Choice
You can’t choose your problems, but you can choose how you react to them. Life is full of choices. When we are worried, we have made a choice to worry. Worry is the opposite of trust. Think of it this way: When I worry, I tell God “I don’t trust You, God, to take care of me, so I’m handling it myself.” You might not mentally or verbally express it that way, but that’s what your worry tells God. Choose to trust God no matter what you see with your eyes. Try to see problems through the eyes of faith, and trust God, for He is more than faithful. We have His promise that even the bad things will work out for our very best (Rom. 8:28).
Write Down Your Worries
This might seem strange, but when you write down what you are worried about by putting in on a piece of paper or a Word document, it doesn’t seem to be as insurmountable as it was in your mind. It seems to be more manageable and not the monster that our minds make it out to be. Look at what you wrote down. In the big scheme of things, it’s simply ink and paper now. Or if it’s a Word document on your computer, it’s something that you can click on and drag to the trash. One of my favorite verses is “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed” (Isaiah 54:17a). If your worry is from the enemy, it is no match for God.
Take a Walk
This might seem to be another strange strategy, but it does work. When we take a walk or a bike ride, it seems that our minds are forced to focus on something else for a time. There is also the knowledge of where we are, in that we see the beauty of nature, and that our Creator has no problem in dealing with our problems because to Him they’re all small. If we just think about the God Who created the universe, how big is our problem compared with His omnipotence (all-power)? Also, exercise has been proven to improve our mental capacity to handle and process problems and increase our ability to problem-solve. Your walk might bring down your worry to manageability.
It is so easy to worry and so hard to hand these things over to God, but He wants us to unload every burden onto Him and just pray about what we can’t solve ourselves. That way, He receives all the glory, and nothing else matters but the glory of God.