By Nancy Twigg
Several years ago Michael and I went camping with our good friends, Mark and Faith. One evening around the campfire, we talked about worrying, and which partner does the majority of it in each couple. We all laughed when Mark joked, "I don't have to worry–Faith does enough of it for both of us!"
I confess that like Faith, I can also be a bit of a worrywart. Recently during one of my worrying phases, I ran across a Bible verse that spoke directly to my heart. Some coincidence, huh? The verse was Psalm 37:8: "...Do not fret -- it leads only to evil."
Oh, the wisdom in that statement. How many times do we work ourselves up over situations whose outcomes are totally out of our hands anyway? How much energy is foolishly wasted on fretting over things that never even come to pass?
Besides physical ailments such as ulcers and headaches, here are some other hitchhikers that often tag along with worry:
* Doubt – thinking less than the best of yourself, others, and God
* Discouragement – wanting to throw in the towel before it is time
* Envy – wondering why life has not given you as good a deal as someone else
* Regret – dwelling on how things could have or should have been
* Depression – feeling that life is closing in on you
* Ingratitude – overlooking the many things you have to be thankful for
Note that none of these make for a healthier, happier you. Any one of these evils -- let alone several combined -- can easily drain the life right out of you.
Telling a worrier not to worry is like telling water not to be wet. But here are some tricks I use to get myself out of the worrying mode. First, find a friend who will listen objectively as you describe what is worrying you. Often I find that my worry loses its power when I put it into words. Usually before I can even finish, I think to myself, "Why am I getting so worked up over that?!"
Next, analyze the situation with this question in mind: How much of this is really under my control? One giant step toward inner peace is accepting that much of what happens around you is beyond your control. Decide on a positive plan of action for those things you can change. Make a rigid commitment to let go of those things you cannot change.
And lastly, be aggressive in taking thoughts of worry captive and not allowing them to steal your peace of mind. When worry tries to sneak in after you’ve already let go, get ruthless. Say boldly, "Get away from me, Worry. You are not welcome here."
Oswald Chambers, author of the devotional classic, "My Utmost for His Highest," wrote that it is one thing to say, "Don’t fret," but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself unable to fret. It is my goal to leave the worrywart in me behind so that someday I will find myself, as Mr. Chambers described, completely unable to worry.
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