While the picturesque words “peace” and “rest” sound inviting, most of our lives are more like a hamster wheel of work, worry, repeat. We know we shouldn’t worry, but we do worry, even when we tell ourselves…”Don’t Worry!”
Work is healthy and necessary, but worry is not. Worry steals your peace. Worry makes you indecisive and less productive. No one enjoys worrying, yet like a vortex it sucks you in before you realize it.
Would you prefer to listen to this teaching?
So many times I’ve opened the drain in the bottom of the bathtub as I instructed one of my children to get out of the tub. Often I gathered them in my arms, wrapping them in a soft towel, while rubbing them dry and hugging them all at the same time. Sometimes they would lean over the tub and watch a small yellow boat swirl in the harmless vortex that was created as the water drained from the tub. And, sometimes to my dear husband’s chagrin, I’ve watched as one of their little toys made it’s way down the drain before I could grab it. (Sorry, Wayne!)
Watching the whirling water in the bathtub is fun, but watching people whirl in the vortex of fear and stress of life’s problems is heartbreaking. As I listen to people and look around me, I see families drowning in worry. I see the flood waters of problems, serious life alternating situations, that are sweeping and sucking people into a vortex of disaster. I grasp the gravity of what is happening in our culture. But, as a child of God, I want to remind you that you don’t have to worry. Maybe you’re tired of hearing folks say “Don’t Worry!”
Jesus said “Don’t Worry” in
Matthew 6:31 NLT so I think we need to hear it until we stop doing it.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’
32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Let me stop here for one minute. If you are feeling anxious and fearful…if you feel like you are drowning right now, here are some relief strategies.
Quiet the inner storm.
Calm your emotions.
Psalm 131:2 NLT “But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.”
Talk to yourself.
No, don’t say the mean hateful stuff…be nice. Talk quiet and calm.
Just like a mother calms her baby, talk to yourself in a quiet reassuring way. Tell yourself to calm down. Talk to yourself with quiet, short sentences.
Then begin to pray, “Jesus, I need you. Help me, dear Jesus. Father, you are here. Thank you. I need your peace, Jesus. Thank you Jesus. There is power in your name. Jesus you are Lord. You are Lord in this situation. I receive your peace. I need wisdom. Thank you Jesus for wisdom. Praise you, Father.”
When we get upset, we take shallow breathes. Take a deep breath. Finish by lifting your hands and praising God. Praise God aloud for His goodness, faithfulness, strength, power and love. Praise Him for specific times that He has answered your prayer.
Go to God’s Word
Find promises that apply to your situation. Read them aloud. If you don’t have a list of promises or comforting Scriptures, use the 23 Psalm.
Dr. Charles L. Allen, in “God’s Psychiatry”, explains the power of that short chapter.
“The Twenty-third Psalm is a pattern of thinking, and when
a mind becomes saturated with it, a new way of thinking and a
new life are the result. It contains only 118 words. One could
memorize it in a short time. In fact, most of us already know
it. But its power is not in memorizing the words, but rather
in thinking the thoughts.
Listen to music.
Take a walk and listen to music. Really listen by paying attention to the words of the song. Sing along. Pray.
Call a friend and ask them to pray for you.
Yes, I’ve done it! Sometimes I didn’t even explain why I need prayer, only that I needed peace.
It doesn’t do any good to worry.
I know. I know! You knew that already. Then don’t do it. Jesus said in Matthew 6: 27, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Worry makes your problems heavier.
Proverbs 12:25 NIV “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
I don’t like what worry does to me. Do you? It affects your spirit, soul and physical body. There is a long list of medical issues associated with worry. Worry will rob your faith, make your body sick and hinder you from thinking clearly enough to problem solve efficiently. It’s extremely difficult to think about solutions when you are drowning in worry.
You don’t have to worry.
Worry takes place in your mind. It’s a nasty habit that does the same thing to your mind that nicotine does to your lungs. Since it takes place in your mind you can control it. God won’t control it for you. You have to do it.
“All worry is caused by calculating without God.” Oswald Chambers
You can stop worrying.
God wouldn’t tell you not to worry if you couldn’t stop. You can. You have to stop the wrong thoughts. It sounds like a daunting task, but never fear, God’s Word is here-and He’s got a strategy.
You can worry or have peace. It’s your choice.
Peace is not the absence of problems but the presence of a person…Jesus.
Remember God has a solution.
Psalms 34:17 NLT “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.”
1 Corinthians 10:13b NLT “…And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.”
This verse is the reason why you can live confident and filled with peace.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8 nlt
Let’s look at God’s Peace Strategy.
It is such a simple strait forward strategy. Not easy to do, but very easy to understand. I like to break it into bite-sized pieces for easy digestion.
Philippians 4:6 NIV says
“6”Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank him for all he has done.”
Did you see that? Here’s the strategy.
- Turn your worry into prayer.
- Tell God what you need.
- Thank God.
Verse 7 of Philippians 4 says 7Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
I gotta tell you the last part of that verse really excites me. It is worth repeating.
“Then you WILL
Oh praise, God!
Peace isn’t an illusive fantasy or obtainable only to someone that doesn’t have a problem in the world.
It’s important that you understand the outcome of this process is not natural peace; it’s God’s peace. It is not a human peace that you can manufacture with a process. This peace comes from God. It is supernatural.
God’s Peace is not automatic.
It’s always available, but unattainable if you choose worry instead. And because it is a process; it must be repeated again and again. It is a way of life; not a one time thing you do when you have a panic attack.
As we partner with God in obedience and submission to God’s authority He provides peace. God’s peace is powerful enough to guard your heart, which includes, your mind, will, motivations, and desires.
But the simple strait forward instruction
in 1 Peter 5:7 is my favorite.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Big Takeaway- Don’t worry. Turn your worry into prayer. Tell God what you need. Thank Him for the answer.