Today's Devotional Thought
May 16, 2011 by Rachel Piferi
Do Not Worry....Yeah Right!
Do you struggle with anxiety? As women, we all get nervous about our circumstances, our finances, our children, and almost every aspect of our life. How do you control the anxiety in your life? Are you able to control it?
Anxiety is a natural and necessary part of life. It is adaptive for us to have that warning signal that something may need additional attention or care. It is not adaptive, however, when that anxiety begins to interfere with our ability to handle a problem or situation. Or, when it interferes with our ability to trust God and do what he calls us to do.
There are numerous verses in the Bible that tell us to not be anxious. It is quite clear throughout Scripture that we are to fear not and be anxious for nothing because the Lord is with us through all of our circumstances. But, if you are like many women, you probably read these verses and say, “Sure, that’s all true, but I still worry. I just don’t know how to stop.”
Today, let me give you a few practical tools to help you when you start worrying. Many of these I use on a daily basis and I think they can help you too.
~ Pray out loud to God and specifically tell Him what you are worried about and how you would like Him to help ease your mind. Release the circumstance to him and tell him out loud that you give him the situation as the God of the universe.
~ Recite Scripture. If you are a chronic worrier, then find Scripture verses that address worry and learn them. Write these Scriptures on notecards and read them over and over to yourself when you are worrying. The Bible tells us that God’s Word is powerful and can combat the tools of Satan. Worry is one of those tools that Satan uses to paralyze us. Do not let him win by occupying your mind with worry. Fight Satan with the truth of Scripture and ask God to fill you with the strength to fight Satan’s power to tempt you to worry.
~ Change your behavior. Some things that we worry about are due to our own behaviors and sin. If one of your behaviors is causing consequences that cause you worry, then prayerfully change those behaviors.
~ Pretend a friend was coming to you with your anxiety. What would you say to them? Tell yourself what you would tell that friend.
~ Sing. Find your best praise and worship CD and sing out loud to the Lord. I have an “Encouragement” playlist on my ipod and anytime I start to worry or feel down, I play it and let God’s presence replace the worry I feel in my heart.
~ If the thing that you are worried about can be controlled, then plan a strategy for dealing with the issue. If it is a large project or event, then break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces that you can accomplish. Make a timeline and check off the smaller steps to the larger task so that you can feel accomplishment as you strive towards the goal.
~ Breathe deeply. The parasympathetic nervous system (the side of the Autonomic Nervous System that slows your heart and breathing) is activated when you exhale. So, when you feel yourself getting nervous or worried, then exhale very slowly. Deliberately inhale slowly and then exhale more slowly. It will activate the part of the ANS that will help slow your heart rate (and thus make you feel less nervous).
~ Seek wise counsel. One of the best things you can do when you feel anxious about something is seek the advice or counsel of someone who you spiritually respect. Seek support from those around you who can talk to you and pray for you when you are anxious.
~ Do something fun. Sometimes, the things in life that get us anxious cannot be fixed. And, we just need to distract ourselves from them sometimes. After praying about the event, it is okay to distract yourself from it while God works. Go to a movie. Go shopping. Or do something that can be fun and distracting from whatever may be causing you worry.
There are many things in this life that can cause us to worry and be anxious. But God does not desire for us to be anxious in life. He wants us to trust Him and realize that even though we may encounter some pretty rough circumstances, we will be okay in the end. So, when you begin to get anxious, remember God’s promise that He will always be with you and then use strategies to actively combat the tendency to worry in your life. By doing this, you can stop dwelling on the anxiety and continue living life fully for Him.