3 Ways to Counter WORRY
My life experience has led me to believe that some people are just better at recognizing the pain in their life than they are the blessings. You know whom I’m talking about – those friends who constantly talk about (and seek your advice over) one stressful situation or another but there’s little evidence that they actually desire to change the situation. I’m a firm believer in not just offering advice (which your life experience may perfectly situate you to do), but also in helping people find promise, direction and confidence to grow on their own. How do you support your friends while encouraging their independent growth? Here’s some good advice you can offer the worriers:
1. We were all created for a purpose. Recognize this and you’ll see life’s journey as just that, a journey of growth.
If we are genuinely seeking God’s purpose for our life, we need to spend time in prayer asking Him what He created us for. If you are like I was, and your life of busyness has resulted in you moving quiet time to the bottom of your priority list, I urge you to move that back to the top. If you drive to work, buy yourself a bible on CD, download a favorite preacher’s sermons on your iPad, and get daily devotionals delivered to your email inbox. Make an intentional effort to hear from God. Cry out to Him. When we seek Him, He does not hide himself from us. Learn to pray without ceasing, and listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit within you. Whenever you feel the consuming thoughts of your challenges entering your mind, replace it with a conversation with God.
2. Not all hardship is meant to get you off course!
Our challenges make us stronger! I love the biblical story of Joseph’s life. After all, Genesis tells us more about his challenges than his ultimate prize of becoming the chief operating office (of sorts) of Egypt! He gets discarded by his brothers, sold into slavery, wrongly accused of infidelity, imprisoned, forgotten, discarded, and used. And then he emerges to fulfill his purpose by Pharoah’s side – a huge assignment where he will ultimately feed Egypt and all of Israel through the famine. One of the things I like the best about his life journey is that the bible doesn’t tell us how Joseph felt during his troubles. It simply repeats that, “God was with Him.” This challenges me to see that I need to look up more and trust the Creator of the Universe when things aren’t going as I’d planned. It also encourages me to wait with expectation of the great thing that may be coming on the other side of the challenge.
3. Letting go of the worrier thinking is a choice. Your choice!
We have the ability to change our thoughts. If you find yourself consumed with the challenge, make a conscious choice to think about something else. Pray. Give the challenge up to God and then leave it with Him, and put your mind on something else. Go out to dinner, walk through a park or around the mall, make yourself a nice cup of tea, call a friend and chat about the weather. Consciously put your mind on better things. You can also be the friend who helps the friend to put their mind on better things.
I’ve met a lot of women who I am convinced find comfort in the angst; these are women who read every self-help book except the bible, and ask everyone except God what they should do with their lives. Angst isn’t going to dissipate on its own, nor will your unrest settle down, until you seek the only direction and confirmation that matters, found only in the presence and direction of God. You can certainly make life changes without hearing from God, and you may even find temporary gain, but only those steps ordained by God bring lasting and persistent peace. Seek Him and you’ll find Him every single time.
(some excerpts from Women of Faith in the Marketplace: Finding Your Kingdom Purpose, Bollinger, Friesen Press 2016)