Most of us would choose to be a warrior for God, rather than a person who is a worrier. A worrier is someone who is trying to use their own resources to solve problems. A warrior knows she has to use God’s divine weapons. There is nothing else that will work. And yet, we still try to solve our own problems.
When we worry we are actually praying to ourselves. We aren’t asking anyone else to help us. We are going over and over and over the problem we have and examining it from every angle.
We’re definitely going to the wrong source to fix our problems. We know the right source, but for some reason we feel like we have to fix whatever issue we are overthinking.
We are trying to change what either is happening or has happened or what we think might happen, but of course we can’t because most of the time it would involve someone other than ourselves doing something different. No matter how much we worry about that situation, if it’s already happened then it will not change. If it hasn’t happened yet, then why are we taking up valuable brain space worrying about it in the first place?
Studies show that over 91% of what we worry about never comes true and yet we take 25% or more of our time in high stress worrying, which comes from overthinking a problem. We’ve definitely got to stop doing that!
What Is Worry?
First, though, we need to understand a few basics. Worry is not in and of itself an emotion. Worry will cause us to have emotions like fear, frustration, anger, guilt, shame, regret, hate, sadness, loneliness, disgust, even rage. Any one of these emotions can also cause us to worry.
We can also worry about things that are usually considered positive, like planning a huge anniversary party or the wedding of one of our kids, especially the first one to get married, or even how to help our senior graduate. All of these are especially worrisome in the midst of a massive shut down such we are experiencing now.
If you are a worrier you may stress about everything that could go wrong with what might well be the best thing that ever happened to you or your family. This kind of worry heightens our emotions and can cause physical reactions such as a racing heart, increased sweating, rapid breathing, fatigue and headaches.
As a result, we try to find solutions to calm and comfort us such as overindulging in our favorite foods or sweets. It doesn’t really matter if our worry began with something positive or negative, it still is not really worth our time to indulge it and yet, we still worry.
Five Steps To Stop Worrying
God gives us His five-step plan to stop worry from taking over. The first and second steps we can find in Philippians 4:6 NLT: “Do not worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.”
The first step is to make a decision not to worry about anything or as The Passion Translation tells us to “stop being pulled in different directions.” This is easier said than done. Worry is usually a reaction to a person, situation or circumstance. Many times it is a learned response which has become our programmed response to a something we cannot control.
Worry begins as a thought, but our thoughts are not us. When we have a thought, even if It worries us, we can take a step back and observe that thought. The thought does not control us unless we allow it take over our minds.
We can set that thought aside and choose for it to just be there without us reacting to it. When we react to it, we overthink it which leads to worry. So when God tells us not to worry about anything, He’s telling us that even though certain thoughts come our way, we do not have to entertain them or throw a party for them allowing them to run amuck through our minds.
Pray About Everything
The second step is to pray about everything. The Passion Translation says it this way, “Tell Him every detail of your life.”
What if instead of rehashing and rethinking about every detail we told God about them? It really helps me to journal my prayers when I begin to overthink things. When I put my thoughts on paper, I see what I am actually thinking and how futile that is.
It gets those thoughts out of the valuable space in my mind that I need for critical thinking. If I need those thoughts, I know God will remind me of where they are if they are important. But if it doesn’t matter to God, I have no reason to revisit them.
Warriors Need Peace
To make sure we are warriors fighting on God’s side, we first have to be saturated in God’s peace. This is the next step. The only way peace comes is when we have an ongoing prayer conversations with God, when we are totally committed to Him and constantly seeking His direction
Philippians 4:7 NLT says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
His peace helps us to not allow the thoughts we have to become worries. We have taken them captive in order to have God’s peace. We can’t fight the good fight that God has called us to if we are in worry instead of peace.
Take Thoughts Captive
This leads us right into 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Doing this is one of “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” as it says in 2 Cor. 10:4 NIV.
We really can’t take anything captive we do not have power over. We have power over our thoughts provided we don’t allow them to have that party our minds. I wish I could say that taking thoughts captive is a once and done thing, but it’s more of a consistent effort.
I picture myself taking the worrisome thought and setting it in a cage somewhere and then I intentionally read scripture, journal, focus on a task, listen to Christian music or Christian podcast. I occupy my mind with something else.
The verse also says “we demolish arguments that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.” Many times these arguments come from within us. They are the seeds of thoughts that we allow to grow. If they have taken root in us, we are going to have to be ruthless and demolish them completely.
Think Positive Thoughts
The fifth step is to think positive thoughts. Philippians 4:8 TPT tells us, “So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.”
Instead of thinking of everything that can go wrong, which is one definition of worry, think on everything that is great in this world. Sometimes these are harder to come up with than the negative things.
My Dad was a man of prayer and as long as he was alive I knew he was praying for me every day. Prayer was a consistent habit for him. He taught me by his actions that when I am constantly in communion with God, when I am constantly praying for others, worrisome thoughts have no space to occupy in my mind. They are not just taken captive, they are silenced. When worrisome thoughts are silenced they don’t cause me or you to try to silence them by overeating or some other addictive behavior.
Many times our overeating, binging or food addiction Is caused by another addiction—the addiction to worry. To counteract worry, remember these five steps.
- Don’t worry. Don’t be anxious about anything. Don’t give worrisome thoughts space in your mind. Thoughts aren’t you. You don’t have to continue to think about them.
- Pray about everything. Tell God every detail. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. If we are doing this we shouldn’t need to worry.
- Expect to experience God’s peace and let it guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ.
- Take every thought captive and demolish arguments you might have against God or in opposition to God.
- Instead of thinking of everything that can go wrong, think on the awesomeness you see all around you. Then thank and praise God for His glorious works.
Living In the Overflow
Worry can really damage our lives and keep us from the best that God wants for us. The evil one uses worry in our lives to accomplish what he has set out to do which is to kill, steal and destroy us. If we let our thoughts take us over, he has won.
But Jesus has a whole different agenda. He has “come to give us everything in abundance, more than we expect —life in its fullness until we overflow,” as it says in John 10:10 TPT.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the overflow! It’s out of His overflow that I can be a warrior for Him instead of a worrier.
For more on this topic, listen to podcast episode 28 HERE.