In Others’ Words: Stepping Out From the Shadow of Worry

Big shadow 2015

If I let myself, I could spend a lot of hours worrying.

About people I love.

About decisions I’ve made … or have to make … or about decisions others’ might make that affect me.

About finances. Isn’t there always a reason to worry about finances?

About my writing career.

About the future … in so many ways. 

Worry, in the moment, feels oddly productive. I’m doing something. But in reality, I’m only pondering mights and maybes — all the future possibilities that cast a looming shadow over right here and now. I waste time and emotional energy conjuring up all sorts of negative scenarios instead of anchoring myself to the present — and to the very real trustworthy presence of God.

Someone once said you can choose to either worry or to pray — but you can’t do both. Ever since then, I’ve tried to pray when confronted with both the little things in life that trouble me, as well as the big things in life that bring me to my knees. Oftentimes, I hold on to an anchor verse like: In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. Psalm 56:11 NASB

In Your Words: How do you stop worry from gaining control in your life?

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13 Comments

  1. November 5, 2015, 6:48 am   /  Reply

    When I catch myself beginning to worry, I stop and think about if there’s anything I can do about the situation. If there is, I begin doing it. If there isn’t, I’m learning to take it to God in prayer and to stop thinking about it. If I can’t stop thinking about it I talk with a friend, and I find that most often, that helps me release the thing that began me worrying.

    • November 5, 2015, 7:06 am   /  Reply

      I like both your steps, Jeanne.
      1. Can I do anything about what I’m worried about? (Do it.)
      2. I can’t do anything about what I’m worried about. (Pray about it.)

      🙂

  2. November 5, 2015, 6:49 am   /  Reply

    Having a few years under my belt helps. I see that most past things that caused worry really shrank to be manageable and in all likelihood the current scary problem will, too. Then give it the normal amount of prayer to put God on the job, knowing that He will give instruction if something more is needed.

    • November 5, 2015, 7:07 am   /  Reply

      Love this, Dee:
      Put God on the job!

      🙂

  3. November 5, 2015, 7:15 am   /  Reply

    Ah, worry, that old nemesis. I love how you stated that worry makes us feel like we’re actively participating and doing something about the problem, when in fact, we’re not. It’s probably why worry is so prevalent. The truth is that it does nothing but steal our peace and joy. Good things to keep in mind right now. Thanks, Beth.

    • November 5, 2015, 7:24 am   /  Reply

      Gabe: As I wrote the post, I realized that’s how worry trips me up. I think I’m doing something about the problem, but I’m not. I’m just spinning my mental wheels, wasting emotional energy.
      Thanks for joining the conversation today!

  4. November 5, 2015, 7:40 am   /  Reply

    Under the circumstances, worrying is something I can avoid. So much has gone wrong – loss of career, loss of health, bankruptcy, and the total failure of a ‘writing’ career – that worrying is simply a waste of time.

    Plus the fact that death is coming, it’s going to be unpleasant, and there’s nothing I can do to change that.

    Worry? Think I’ll dance instead.

    • November 5, 2015, 7:58 am   /  Reply

      Oh, and add to that the diminution of a relationship that’s been quite central to my life…

      But, still…SnOoPyDaNcE!

      They cut me down and I leapt up high
      I am the Life that’ll never, never die!
      I’ll live in you if you’ll live in Me –
      I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

      • November 5, 2015, 8:29 am   /  Reply

        Now I understand a bit better.
        You are letting the Lord of the Dance lead …

    • November 5, 2015, 8:28 am   /  Reply

      Andrew:
      You’ve made a choice not to worry. You’ve made a choice about how you want to live your life in the face of many big things.
      Watching from the sidelines … and learning.

  5. Susan
    November 5, 2015, 11:42 am   /  Reply

    Perfect timing with this today, Beth. Simply perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  6. November 5, 2015, 6:45 pm   /  Reply

    When worry descends, I start praying the alphabet, A=He is the Alpha and Omega, etc. Sometimes it takes going through it twice. 🙂

    • November 5, 2015, 6:54 pm   /  Reply

      Pat, You’ve mentioned praying the alphabet before … thank you for the reminder ….

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