Are you a Worried Wanda or a Fretful Fred? Is worry affecting the quality of your life?
What is worry? One translation means to gnaw or eat away at. Like a dog with a bone, the worrier chews all day, ruminating on the negative. Worried thoughts whip up frenzied images accompanied by negative emotions all driven by fear: our faith in the negative dimension.
We ponder the probability of future events. It's the reason worry is known as the “what if” disease. People worry about what might happen to their kids, at their work, or in their relationships. In The Worry Cure, Robert Leahy Ph.D. states, “the worrier activates a hyper-vigilant strategy of worry and think that ‘if I worry I can prevent this bad thing from happening or catch it early.'" Worry is a trick of the devil. We worry about things we have no control over yet get a false sense that we’re doing something. Worry is a waste of time. Scripture reminds us:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to life? Like 12:25
You can’t add years to your life, but you certainly can take them away. All this worry negatively affects our mental and physical health. It produces a constant assault of adrenaline and robs us of joy and peace. We feel drained of energy. Is it any wonder? It’s the joy of the Lord that gives us strength.
The chronic stress caused by emotional pressure over a prolonged period of time eventually affects our body. Dr. Leahy continues to say, “Worriers are more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and aches and pains. Worry interferes with our appetite, sleep, and job performance. A sure sign for me is clenched teeth. You may also notice your heart is pounding, you have dry mouth, a hard time swallowing, or a throbbing headache. Worry can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts.
How can we stop worrying? First, we must acknowledge that worried thoughts reveal a lack of trust in God. According to Stephen M.R. Covey author of The Speed of Trust says, “trust impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year. It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged. It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcomes of every future moment of our lives—both personally and professionally.”
Simply put … trust is confidence, and we are just not sure if God is going to come through. Yet, Scripture tells us repeatedly not to worry … ever:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all under understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Did you catch that? Be anxious about nothing. How is that possible? Only if we trust God. How do we build trust? Like any relationship … we have to spend time with God and get to know Him. It's hard to trust someone we don't know.
The previous Scripture says by prayer and supplication, which means to be humble and earnest, make your requests known to God. Talk to God about your problems and listen … be still. I guarantee you there is a promise in His Word that speaks to any problem (worry) you have.
The Scripture reminds us to do all this “with thanksgiving.” I know when I’m a bit sour with self-pity and prone to worry I’m not feeling too grateful. But nothing pulls us out of our funk like getting our praise on. Praise is like supernatural fingernails on the devil’s chalkboard. Look around at all the good in your life.
Then the peace (worry-free thinking) that makes no sense in your circumstance, will guard your heart and mind, and hold you firm despite the craziness swirling around you. It's time to say "Peace Out" Worried Wanda.
Crystal Van Kempen-McClanahan, is one- half of the podcast Soul Gym Sisters, and co-author of Mind Moxie: How to Help You Master What's Mastering You. She spent years as an educator, a softball/volleyball coach, and school leader. She has a doctorate in Educational Leadership and received the John Maxwell Leadership Award in Education. Because leadership is "influence," Crystal is passionate about helping people increase their "influential capacity" by leading their life, loving their life, and lavishing it on others. Check out her YouTube channel and online course "5 Steps to Go From Flabby to Fit Without Stepping Foot in the Gym."