On any given day, when I review the search terms used to find my site, it consistently comes up with “stress” as one of the words in the key phrase. At any given time, 75 percent of the people I talk with each day, including our own team at times, are stressed, worrying or anxious.
Yet, Jesus tells us specifically not to worry. He actually admonishes us for doing so and declares it a direct lack of trust in Him and God the Father.
Some of us outwardly worry and don’t think about it being a lack of trust or faith. Others try to “not” worry, but can’t help it. And then, there are those who know we shouldn’t worry. We seek the Lord, we read Scripture, we give our worries to God, we pray without ceasing, and then, one day wake up stressed and worried and curse ourselves and Satan for sneaking back up on us. I am in this last camp and I get extra worried when I worry because I am supposed to know better!
It’s a circular, isn’t it?
Of course, when the circular really kicks in and my worry begins to accelerate, I become acutely aware of the fact that I am sinning, not trusting God, and not doing myself any favors.
Since this is the most Googled term in business, at least in my visitor group, I thought I would share with you how I shut down the worry.
This is in no particular order, however, randomly these are some of my tactics to release the worry and stress:
- Fiercely stick to a sleep routine. Satan uses worry and stress to keep us from sleeping. Lack of sleep exacerbates worry and stress. Now you are on the worry cycle. You may not be able to control whether you wake up or take a while to fall asleep; however, you can control your routine. You can go to bed at the same time each night. You can find things that put you in the best state to fall asleep. You can wake up at a consistent time every morning to keep your schedule in place.
- Stop drinking alcohol. I drink wine and when I am worried, it is a natural instinct to want a glass of wine when I get home and eat dinner. When I drink wine, it dehydrates me and I end up waking up thirsty in the middle of the night. This impacts my sleep. Also, when you are stressed and start drinking, chances are you will drink more than normal. Alcohol is a depressant, so in the end, it actually makes your mood worse. I also find that more people get in arguments and fights when they have been drinking, especially if they are already stressed out. This is not a time to drink.
- Claim God’s promises to take care of our needs. Read Matthew 6:26-34 daily for a week. I like the NIV Life Application foot notes, too, that go along with these verses. I call these the worry verses. If God will feed the birds and clothe the flowers, what more will He do for us? And, how can worrying add one day to our lives? There is enough to worry about today; why borrow trouble from tomorrow?
- Walk through the lack of trust. I don’t try to purposely not trust God. In my mind, intellectually, I know I can trust Him for everything. I would hope in my heart too. But, evidently not, as it still creeps in. So, I walk myself through the fact that I am worrying means I must not trust God. Then I remember life when I didn’t know Jesus, and remind myself how much better things are now. I have experienced the difference and the gap is quite large. And I usually feel bad for not trusting God and move toward Him in repentance. Thankfully, He has mercy and is faithful and pulls me back in to Him. I usually stop worrying at this point. (And no, I didn’t just replace my worry with guilt! I know He forgives me, and I let it go! But sometimes it is hard to let go of the Jewish heritage!)
- Pray and promise to focus on others. Quite honestly, I get sick of myself when I worry to much. I know it doesn’t do any good and it is like a tireless tape of complaining in my mind. The only way to really shut it down is to focus on other people. Focus on encouraging others. Find a way to help someone else. Volunteer for something. One of the best antidotes to worry is to go focus on doing good for others. (Not for salvation, just to stop worrying.)
There are many other coping mechanisms for worry. Most of them include God. Instead of repeating other posts, I will put a few of the most popular posts I have written about worry, stress or anxiety below. If you come up with any not here, please share them with us all!