Worry Warts

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Worry and anxiety are mentioned 25 times in the New Testament. The Greek word for worry means to be divided or to choke. The Old English word for worry meant “to gnaw.” Like a dog gnaws on a bone, we gnaw on our problems.
50% of us are chronic worriers or “worry warts.” Chronic means that worry frequently reoccurs. Data shows that there is nothing we can do about 70% of our worries.
40% are things that will never happen.
30% are about the past – which can’t be changed
12% are about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% are about health, which gets worse with stress
8% are about real problems that can be solved.

Worry causes us to fix our eyes on our circumstance instead of our Savior. Worry short-circuits our relationship with him. The truth is we face legitimate concerns every day. We have real problems, broken relationships, health concerns, family issues, and pain all around us. Jesus knew better than anybody about concerns. He was harassed and pursued constantly by his enemies, but he spent time in prayer with his Heavenly Father and moved forward with acts of service to others. Jesus knew that a life filled with fear had little time left for faith. Instead of worrying and gnawing we need to focus on what we can do and what should be left entirely up to God.

When worry creeps up on us the form of negative mind chatter, we need to re-frame the negative thoughts into positive ones. Turn fretful thoughts such as, “I’m afraid my son will get into an accident on the way to school” into prayers, such as “God bless Jordan as he drives to school today. Help him to be alert and attentive. Thank you for the hedge of protection you will place around him.” Then we must let the worry go.

To help you turn your worry switch off, you might try some of these suggestions.

STOP – Say it, write it, read it. Say aloud the word stop the moment you begin to worry. Write the word on a card and place it in the places where you tend to worry: your bedside table, your bathroom mirror, the console in your car.
Snap - a rubber band. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it when a worry creeps in.
Switch -your mind channel – Force yourself to think of something else. Look out the window, read a book, etc.
Schedule - another time to think about your problem. Concerns are very real and it helps to schedule a time to talk to a friend, family member, or counselor about them, but don’t turn concerns into worries by letting them gain a stronghold.
Say – a prayer to God for discernment and thanksgiving for his divine guidance.

What will be the result of turning our worries over to God?

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

We need to burn off the worry warts! I had warts burned off my finger when I was a child and it was pretty painful, but after it healed, I had a smooth, wart free finger. It may be painful to let go of our worry but in the end we’ll experience real peace.


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