Do you ever find yourself “freaking out” with fear? My imagination can concoct all sorts of scenarios peppered with dread and doom. Sometimes I can’t shake fear as I try to fall asleep.
But I have come to trust this perspective-shifting truth: God is not worried. He’s not in heaven wringing His hands, wondering just how everything will eventually turn out. He is in control. He is loving.
God longs to use the circumstances of our lives to mold our mind, craft our character, and chase away the fears that threaten to slither in, paralyzing us and rendering us ineffective. Ever the patient and wise teacher, if He isn’t freaking out, why should we?
Next time you are filled with fear, consider these five ways to turn your greatest worries into your deepest prayers:
1. Make a list.
Grab two pieces of notebook paper and on one make a list of the things about which you are most worried. Is it money? A loved one? The future? Your health? Number them one by one. Then, make a second list on the other sheet of paper with corresponding numbers. For each number, write out a one or two-sentence prayer about the corresponding worry from list number one. Then, take a bright red pen and make a big X through the first list. Write across the top “I’ve got it covered. Love, God”. Post the list on your bathroom mirror. Tuck the other one in your Bible so you can pull it out each day to pray through the list.
2. Question yourself.
Ask yourself this, “If my greatest fear came actually did come true, would God still be enough?” The answer ALWAYS is yes! For encouragement, ponder this quote by one of my favorite authors: “Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering…. The love of God did not protect His own Son…. He will not necessarily protect us – not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot
3. Set an alarm.
Utilize your phone’s alarm, or a kitchen timer or regular alarm clock, to remind you a few times a day to pause and pray about the issue you are most concerned about. Stop and whisper a sincere prayer. Then, go back about your day knowing you have left the issue in God’s hands.
4. Lend a helping hand.
Sometimes we are able to get our eyes off of our own worries by helping out someone in need. Can you sign up to visit shut ins or those in the hospital from your church? Does a local battered women’s shelter need help serving a meal or sorting free clothes for the residents? Does an elderly person in your neighborhood need help around the house or transportation the the doctor’s or grocery store? Helping someone in need can refocus our nervous energy as we spend time with others who need assistance.
5. Memorize. Recite. Believe. Repeat.
Chose one of the verses below to commit to memory. Have a friend or family member be your accountability partner. Practice reciting the verse to them once a week or so until you can do it by heart. Then, believe what the verse says!!
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Do not fret – it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. (Proverbs 12:25)
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. (Psalm 55:22)
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. (Psalm 94:19)
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body more than clothes. (Luke 12:22-23)
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29)
So do not worry, saying “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or ‘What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)