Years ago, I went on a missions trip with my youth group to Europe. We visited missionaries in the Czech Republic and Austria. It was an adventure that changed the course of my life. It was my first trip outside the United States, and my first time flying. I worried for weeks leading up to the day of my departure. Many nights I lay awake worrying over the possibility of our plane crashing into the Atlantic Ocean, or my getting separated from the group and getting lost on the crowded streets of Graz. My parents gently teased me about my worries and had to constantly reassure me that I would be fine. My dad had mentioned my worries to my pastor one Sunday, and I was dubbed from there on out as a “worry wart”!
For some reason, that nickname stuck with me. I have to admit – it is a very fitting nickname!
When most people lay their heads on their pillows to sleep, I lay my head on my pillow and worry. Literally. I’ll have my eyes closed, waiting for blissful slumber, when all of a sudden I’ll start thinking about the card I put in the mail for a struggling friend. “What if she misunderstands the intent of my note? What if I actually offended her instead of encouraging her?” Then, my mind flickers to something I said in a conversation a week ago, and before I know it, I’m an anxious mess and in no way ready for sleep!
Worry is a well-known trigger of anxiety and panic attacks. Worry can be endless thought cycles of doubt over every past word or action. Worry can be agonizing concern over future events. According to Webster’s dictionary, worry means mental distress or agitation, or to make anxious. But I have good news! There is a cure for worry! As I have said before, don’t be fooled by the word “cure”. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians that he must “die daily” to sin. Worry will always try to nudge its way into our daily lives, so we must daily seek the Holy Scriptures for the cure!
Stop the cycle. Worrying is like being stuck on an eternal merry-go-round. You want to get off the ride, but you know that when you do, you’ll probably skin your knees. So round and round you go, trying to get the nerve to jump off. If you are a Christian wanting off the ride of worry, be comforted in knowing that you won’t skin your knees. Your Heavenly Father is waiting to catch you! So just jump! Trust your Father!
“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” – Psalm 18:30
Cast your cares. When you cast your cares at the feet of Christ, you are leaving your worries behind. Just make sure that once you cast them down, you don’t pick them back up again! The Lord wants to bear your burdens. He wants to lighten your load. There is no reason for you to lose sleep over something that you are worried about. Pray about it, give it to God, and go to sleep! I know this sounds easier than it actually is, but when you get in the practice of handing each worry over to the Lord, it becomes easier every day.
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” – Psalms 55:22
Fill your mind. What are you filling your mind with? Everyone has heard the phrase, “an empty mind is the devil’s workshop.” Well, it’s true! If you aren’t filling your mind with things that are “lovely”, then the devil is going to help you fill it with worry. Read your Bible and listen to music that is pleasing to the Lord. Turn off the tv shows that dishonor God, and don’t allow your mind to be filled with conversation that tears down other people. Fill your mind with good!
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Count your blessings. When the cycle of worry is keeping you up at night, try counting your blessings instead of sheep! Keep a prayer journal where you can write down daily blessings. Tell other people how blessed you are! When I feel my chest getting tight and my heart beginning to palpitate from worry, I know it’s time to count blessings. Usually, by the time I have thought of my third blessing of the day, I’m already feeling better.
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.” – Psalms 118:1
Scripture tells us that the devil is like a lion, prowling around, seeking to destroy someone (1 Peter 5:8). When we seek to cure worry on a daily basis, we are protecting our minds from the devil (Proverbs 25:28). So get out of that cycle of worry by trusting God, casting your worries on the Lord, filling your mind with lovely things, and counting your blessings!
Want to read my story about anxiety? My Story with Anxiety
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*disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The information in this article has been gathered from my own experience and personal research. Please see your doctor or therapist before making any changes to your prescription regimen.