Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night worrying about something? Does worry hound your days, keeping you from feeling God’s presence and stealing your peace? If so, this post (and podcast) will help. We’ll talk about how to stop worrying with God’s help.
How to Stop Worrying
This post grew out of one of my morning quiet times with God. Sometimes on the days I have a hard time concentrating, I’ll do a topical word study for my quiet time. I’ll go to my Blue Letter Bible app, click on the button to take me to their website, and plug in a word I want to search. This morning, my words were anxious and anxiety. Here’s what I learned about how to stop worrying from the Bible:
- Lean on God for support. When we’re in turmoil, it feels good to have someone put their arms around us and comfort us–especially when we trust the person. God is that person X 100. He’s always there to console us, and He’s more than able to handle the situation we’re worried about. Psalm 94:19 says, When my anxious thoughts multipy within me, your consolations delight my soul. We just need to take the time to lean on God and be consoled!
- Get an eternal perspective. So often we worry because we’re looking at life from a cultural perspective. When we look at it from an eternal perspective, life doesn’t look so bleak. Psalm 139:23-24 says, Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. The word search means to examine intimately. God can show us when we’re looking at life culturally rather than biblically. Switching our perspective will help us stop worrying.
- Pray and ask for help with thanksgiving. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. When we’re worried, it helps to do this: ask God for help and then start thanking Him for everything we can think of to thank Him for, including His provision in this situation. Thankfulness stops worry. We can’t guarantee that God will give us what we want, but we can guarantee that He’ll be enough even if we don’t get what we want.
- Develop a close walk with God. Jeremiah 17:8 says, For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. The tree doesn’t need to fear because it has long roots that hold it up even in a drought. If we have a deep foundation with God before trouble comes, our past relationship will be enough to hold us up and keep us steadfast. It’s harder to focus on God when we’re in deep turmoil so it’s important to have that solid foundation.
- Give your worries to God. When my kids were little, I had a hard time leaving them for the few trips I took without them. As the plane flew away from our little town with me in it, I could feel the apron strings breaking about an hour into the trip. I would finally let go of that burden to be their caretaker and begin to enjoy the time away. It’s like that with God. We want to hold onto the burden. We have a hard time letting go. But when we finally do, we begin to relax and still enjoy life. 1 Peter 5:7 says, Casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. When we cast our anxiety on God, we can finally relax.
- Let go of your idols. Often our worries reveal our idols. In the Psalms verse I listed for #2, “hurtful way” often refers to idols. Things or people that we place above God. When I say that “x” has to happen or I can’t be happy, I’m making x more important than God wants me to make it. It seems hard-hearted, especially when x is someone we love, but part of loving God is to let Him be enough even when something bad happens to x. It would be nice if we could make sure nothing bad happens to x, but God hasn’t given us that power. Surprisingly, when we let go of making x an idol, we can actually love x more because we’re not so worried about x.
Worry isn’t easy to overcome. But if we continue to go back to God and work through our worries whenever we’re upset, He’ll slowly but surely begin to change us in that area. If you’d like to work on letting go of worry, consider making it a renewing of the mind project. Click here to see how to do that: How to Start a Renewing of the Mind Project.