Ten Ways to Ward off Worry

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

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You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Matthew 24:6

If you are a worry wart like me you are a professional. An expert of the "freak-out". I have had plenty of practice. You could say I excel in creating the worst case scenario in my head. For 2016, I have chosen FEARLESS as my Word of the Year. Not that I think I can overcome every fear or get rid of every anxiety. Some fear is healthy. I am more focusing on the unhealthy practice of my mind swirling because of my numerous worries.

In January, I read Max Lucado's book Fearless. I have read several books on anxiety, but this one has been the most enjoyable! I know. It sounds bizarre, but Max adds humor and grace to his writing. I have actually read books on anxiety that gave me MORE anxiety. Fearless didn't do that for me. It actually helped me see how useless worry really is and how trustworthy our God is. One of the quotes in the book really jumped out at me and has become my goal for the year...

Be a worry-slapper. Treat frets like mosquitoes. Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your skin? "I'll take care of it in a moment." Of course you don't! You give the critter the slap it deserves. Be equally decisive with anxiety. The moment it surfaces, deal with it. -Max Lucado

I need to swat those worries away, because I know what happens. The more they sit comfortably in my brain the more I freak out. They suck the life out of me. They extract my joy. They kill my spirit. The only solution is to fight back. Fight the fear by swatting them away.

So how in the world do you keep worry at bay? How I wish there was a worry zapper...you know like the little tennis rackets that burn bugs? I want one for my worries when they buzz around in my head. However, no such brilliant gadget exists for anxiety. So here's a list of what I am doing when anxiety tries to take a bite out of me...

  • Read God's Word-The command not to fear occurs over and over again in Scripture. It is as if God knew we would struggle with worry. I love that God is honest...like in the verse I put at the top of this post...Matthew 24:6. God declares that bad things will happen, but that isn't the end of the story.

  • Pray- I have been doing this more and more lately. As a mom, I worry a lot for my boys, but really, it doesn't do them any good. Prayer does. Giving it over to God is far more fruitful than stewing on the what if's of life.

  • Redirect You Thinking- This is true "worry swatting". I decide not to stay with a thought that causes me angst. I move on and do one of the other activities in this list.

  • Keep Your Hands and Brain Busy- I do this with adult coloring books. {See this post.} Coloring actually calms me by giving me something else to focus on. If coloring isn't for you, find something else that keeps your brain engage so it isn't ruminating over your cares.

  • Exercise- Being physically active helps control anxiety. I can always tell when I haven't exercised enough. I become more restless and anxious.

  • Talk it Out- Sometimes talking out your fears with a trusted friend helps. You will find you aren't alone in your worries and he or she may be able to offer some possible solutions to your fears.

  • Record What He has Done-I have been keeping a gratitude journal for several years now. I literally count my blessings. I have a journal that I write in each day numbering the blessings from the day before. Currently, I have over 6,000 blessings recorded! When I worry  I go back to these lists and see how God worked everything out for me. I can trust Him with my future considering what He has done in the past.

  • Write the Psalms {or a Psalm}-This year my goal is to write out the entire book of Psalms!!! You can read about it here. I find that the Psalms above all speak to our worries more than any other book. Don't feel like you have to write out the entire book though. Even picking a Psalm or two to write out is beneficial.

  • Wait for the End of the Story-In the middle of everything sometimes we lose sight of the fact that it isn't the end of the story. We don't need to worry as God is working out His plan. As Max Lucado writes, "Everything will work out in the end. If it's not working out, it's not the end."

  • Trust the Story Writer-God is trustworthy. He works out the details that we don't even foresee. Sometimes we just need to give in...not to the worry, but to the One who writes our story. Give him control of the pen so He can finish your story.

So how do you swat away your worries?

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