Tag Archives: worry

The Treadmill Of Worry

In one of the classes I train, the participants take an assessment that pinpoints areas of unproductivity in their job. One of the big one that shows up often is Goal Diffusion. This occurs when a person has several smaller goals that distract them from their big goals. What happens is that they spend and focus their energy on things that don’t move them forward. They may feel somewhat accomplished because they are doing things, but they find that they aren’t advancing. It’s like being on a treadmill. They’re putting out a lot of energy, but they’re not moving. Instead of being laser focused on one goal, they’re dispersing their energy in a lot of different directions. The correction is to refocus on what matters, to choose a large goal that will move them forward and then to channel that all their energy in one direction.

The same thing can happen to us as believers. Many times we feel like we are busy for the Lord, but we’re going no where. We have our energy diffused by all the little things we’re doing or are worried about. Our enemy is pretty good at using worry and smaller goals to keep us distracted and unproductive. Worry takes up a lot of energy and strength. It also takes our eyes off of what matters and refocuses it on things that seem big, but in reality are not. When we spend time thinking about those things, we waste precious energy that could be laser focused somewhere else. The end result is that we are mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted. We also feel like we’re doing a lot, but we don’t feel like we are accomplishing anything with all of our efforts. Just like I mentioned before, the correction is to refocus on what matters and channel our energy in one direction.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude” (TPT). It goes on to tell us that when we do that, we will have the peace that passes understanding and that we need to keep our thoughts focused on what matters (verse 8). What are the things that are pulling you in different directions? What are the things that are creating worry in your life and changing your focus? The correction that all of us need to make is to become more saturated in prayer in our lives. Prayer not only helps us give our worries to God, it helps us refocus on what matters, put our problems in perspective and channel our energy in a direction that moves us forward. Stay focused on the things that matter, stay in prayer, seek God’s Kingdom first (Matthew 6:31) and then you will find you’ve gotten off the treadmill of worry and are moving forward.

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Worry Is A Choice

Did you know that worrying is a choice? When we worry, we make an agreement with ourselves to spend precious energy and brain power on something that may or may not happen. We’re choosing to allow something to consume our thought life. We lose focus on the present and forget about what’s happening right now in exchange for worrying about an unknown future. We get consumed by the what if’s and all the possible solutions to something that hasn’t happened yet. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. I’ve chosen to let worry keep me up at night, consume my energy and cause me to hoard things so that I can be prepared for whatever.

In Exodus 16, the Israelites had been traveling for a month and a half after leaving Egypt. They began to worry where their next meal was going to come from. They were so worried that they reasoned it was better to be a slave and know where your meals were come from than to trust in God. They were blinded by worry to all He had done for them to set them free. So God offered them mana each day, but they could only get enough for that day. God was testing them with this instruction to see if they would quit worrying and trust in His provision. Many let worry grip their heart and chose to get more than a day’s worth. When they did, the mana became an expression of what was going on in their heart and it rotted. God provided this daily meal until they crossed the Jordan and ate of the produce in the Promised Land.

In Matthew 6, Jesus taught the disciples to pray one of the most famous prayers in the world. In it, he taught us to pray, “Give us this day, our daily bread” (KJV). Again, He was teaching us to trust in God’s provision for today. The chapter ends with verse 34 where Jesus says, “Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself” (TPT). This imperative statement reminds us that we need to choose not to worry and to trust God. Instead of being guided by worry, remind yourself of all God has done in the past, and trust in His provision for today. He will give you your daily bread.

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Goodbye, Worry

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Release Worry And Anger

Two the most taxing emotions are worry and anger. Worry robs us of our strength and anger blinds us. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about things that may or may not happen. My mind is excellent at going through all the worst case scenarios. If there’s a possible bad outcome to any situation, my mind will think of it and make me worry. That stress then wears me down to the point that my mind and body get exhausted. It hinders me from accomplishing the things I need to get done.

On the other hand, I’ve been so angry before that I couldn’t sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I could only picture a bad scenario. That got me upset, got my heart racing and my blood boiling. It made me fantasize about doing evil things to pay them back that were worse than what they did to me. I didn’t want to get even, I wanted to get so far ahead that they never wanted to mess with me again.

These two emotions were given to us by God for a reason, but we can’t let them run wild and free or they will destroy us. Psalm 37:8 says, “Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble” (GNT). Notice how the writer didn’t say, “Don’t feel them.” No. He said, “Don’t give into them.” Don’t let them rule your mind. Left unbridled, they will destroy your well being and later your life. You can’t dwell on them. In both cases, you have to release them.

I know that’s easier said than done, but it is possible. In both situations, the way to release them is to trust God. Do you trust God to do what’s right for you? Then let go of worry and trust His plan. Do you believe that vengeance belongs to the Lord? Then let go of your anger and trust Him to do what’s right in the situation. If you’re struggling with either of these, pray and give the situation to God. When you release it, you will watch the worry and anger go with it.

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Greater Than Worry

Worry. It’s something that everyone deals with. Whether it’s about paying the bills this month, will we find true love, the end result of an illness, or any number of things, we all worry. I love that dictionary.com defines worry as, “To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” Worry is nothing more than self torture. It’s allowing our mind to put us into a debilitating prison where our mind thinks of every negative thing that may happen in a situation. Worry only looks at the negative outcomes.

If you’re a worrier, take heart. God wants to free you from that torment. 1 John 3:20 says, “God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves” (MSG). Not only does He know you better than you know yourself, He knows your future. There is nothing that is going to happen to you that He doesn’t already know about. I learned several years ago to trust that worrying didn’t solve the problem or change the future, so I began to hand my worry to Him.

I Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). I admit it was difficult to learn to hand them off to Him because I didn’t know what to think about or do since all I knew was worry. But that’s where Philippians 4:6 came into play. It says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (MSG).

Worry never changed the outcome of anything, but prayer has! Quit tormenting yourself and start praying to God about it. Release it to Him because He is greater than your worry and your problems. He wants to trade peace for your suffering. He wants to give you a lighter burden, but you have to be willing to exchange worry for it and leave it with Him. God cares deeply about you and the things you’re going through. Trust Him to do what’s best and give Him your worry. Give no place in your mind to anxiety and debilitating worry. Be free.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Fighting Fearful Thoughts

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I told my son yesterday, “You’re living in an unprecedented time in history.” As the world buckles down because of the Coronavirus, and social distancing becomes a thing, I find myself watching social media more and even listening to the news radio station looking for information. My son is asking questions about all that’s happening and we’re answering them the best we can with what little information we have. As public gatherings get canceled, grocery stores run out of food and people go into hiding, I cant help but remind myself and my family to keep going back to God’s Word. The world is offering up fear and panic, but God’s Word brings peace and life.

Our enemy’s tactic has always been isolation. He knows if he can get you alone, he can get I to your mind. If he can get into your mind, he can direct your thoughts and stop you in your tracks. Think right now about what is dominating your thoughts. How is that affecting your mood, your relationship with others and your actions? What’s driving your emotions right now? It stems from your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. I’m not saying you and I shouldn’t be informed about what’s going on in the world and what actions you should take. I’m saying quit letting the thoughts and what if’s dominate your mind. Instead, Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on good things, true things, right things, lovely things and good reports because they bring us life.

Proverbs 4:21 says, “Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit” (TPT). Don’t let the fearful thoughts rule your mind. Bring them captive and replace them with the things God says instead. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us not to worry because He’s in control. Philippians 4:6 tell us not to worry, but to pray instead. The Bible is full of promises from God that should dominate our minds, bring us peace and fortify our mind against the daily barrage of fear. When you find yourself worrying, stop the thoughts, and ask, “What does God say?” Spend more time reading God’s Word to put it in your heart and mind. It is your sword to fight fear and the thoughts that cause them.

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Jehovah Shalom

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In a world dominated by chaos, peace is a hard thing to find. Fear is easily bred when you think of all that is going on today. Cities and countries are going bankrupt. Debts are rising. Diseases are rampant. There is very little in this world anymore that is stabile. When the future is uncertain, it’s easy to lose hope. I choose to not let the events of this world control my inner peace. What seems out if control in this world is still under God’s control.

In the book of Judges, chapter 6, Israel was in the same condition. Chaos reigned in the land. There was no hope. While Gideon was threshing wheat in secret, an angel appeared and said, “Mighty hero, The Lord is with you” (Judges 6:12 NLT). Gideon’s response was like many of ours would be. He asked, “If The Lord is with me, then why have all these bad things happened?” They talked some more and then Gideon asked for a sign that the angel was from God. After seeing the sign, Gideon was terrified, but God said, “Don’t be afraid.” Gideon built an altar to God and called it Jehovah Shalom (The Lord is Peace).

Don’t be afraid. That’s God’s word to us today. Don’t let fear grip your heart, your mind and your life. We are not meant to live in fear because God has not given us a spirit of fear. It’s not in Him. He is the Prince of Peace and that’s what He wants to give you today. Peace. He doesn’t want you so consumed by the chaos and instability in your life that you lose your focus. When you have peace, you can focus on what matters and make the best decisions.

Jesus said in John 14, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me… I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (verses 1, 27). His peace is not like the false peace that we find in the world. I call it “false” because the peace the world gives is temporary. His peace is eternal. It passes all understanding and it is sufficient for you.

I don’t know what all you are facing right now. I’ve had my fair share of trouble, stress and chaos in my life. I’ve also been guilty of allowing those things to take over my mind and to get me off track. I’ve learned to trust God and to allow His peace to reign in my life. I don’t live in a utopia. I still have chaos, stress and trouble all around me. I choose to trust in Jehovah Shalom now to bring peace to my life. I don’t allow those things to control my mind. What may have caught me off guard did not catch Him off guard. He knows my future and can guide me best. He knows yours too and offers you peace. Will you trust Jehovah Shalom with all you’re worried about today?

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Calming Anxious Thoughts

Have you ever seen a giant Sequoia tree? They are some of the tallest trees in the world. They’re also some of the fastest growing trees, especially when they’re young. They can grow up to six feet per year. Not only do they grow tall, they also grow wide. These are the trees that you’ve seen pictures of cars driving through them. Their root system is shallow though. It grows out instead of down. They don’t have a tap root. Instead they have thousands of tiny roots that multiply, grow out and around the tree and can cover up to an acre of land.

If you think about it, they’re a lot like our anxious thoughts. Those type of thoughts grow quickly in our mind, they take up a lot of space and infect almost every part of our life. The more we entertain those thoughts, the more they grow. Before you know it, you’ve given up a huge portion of your mind and your life to worrying about things that may or may not happen. Because these thoughts take up so much space, they require a lot to feed them. That’s why they infect every area of your mind as they multiply and grow. The good news is that their root systems are shallow and they can be uprooted.

Psalm 94:19 says, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your comforts delight me” (AMP). Spending time in God’s Word, resting in His presence and worshiping Him are all ways you can uproot those anxious thoughts. Colossians 2:7 tell us to let our roots grow down deeply into God. When we do that, our lives won’t be uprooted by anxious thoughts because there is no room for them. When I start to get anxious about things, I have to remember to quit comparing things against my abilities. Instead, I feed myself on God’s Word and compare those same problems to God. I then realize He is greater than whatever I’m facing.

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Goodbye, Worry

Have you ever been so stressed about a situation that you couldn’t sleep? When I’m worried about something, my mind races all night long about all the possible outcomes. I try to think of ways to solve the problem, but the more I think about it, the further down the rabbit hole I go. It’s exhausting and I wake up the next day tired and mentally drained. Worry has a tendency to do that. That’s why Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”

David’s son Absalom was mad at him and staged a coup. It forced David to flee Jerusalem and hide throughout Israel. He wasn’t sure who he could trust or where his next meal was going to come from. His army was only about 600 men, and Absalom was chasing him with an army of more than 20,000. David had a lot to keep him up at night. During this time, he wrote Psalm 63. Verses 6-7 say, “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings” (NLT).

Instead of focusing on his problems or his situation, David chose to think and meditate on God. By doing that, he kept His problems in check and put them into their proper perspective. God is much greater than whatever problems you’re facing today. While worrying won’t solve them, prayer can. It is the key to letting go of worry and letting our mind rest. God knows your need and will walk with you through whatever situation you face. He is greater than your problems and thinking of His goodness brings peace.

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Releasing Stress

The unofficial motto of Generation X is, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” We were the first generation to be latch key kids meaning both parents worked. We became self sufficient and took on responsibilities at an early age. We tend to look at situations and jump in if no one else is. We see a job that needs to be done, and we do it. We often take pride in doing things ourselves and in making things happen. That line of thinking extends to when we are stressed or worried too. We try to handle it ourselves because we’ve learned to do everything else alone.

In 1 Peter 5, the author writes about how God resists the proud. Then in verse 7 he writes, “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you” (TPT). I was a little confused as I looked for a transition between the two statements and couldn’t find one. That’s when I realized that pride is usually what keeps us from giving our worries, our cares and our stresses to the Lord. We feel like we don’t need any help because we can do it. When we think we don’t need God’s help, that’s a bad thing. When we think we can do it on our own, that’s pride and God resists the proud.

God’s desire is that we live balanced lives. In order to do that, we have to be humble enough to hand things off to Him and leave them with Him. Many of us tell Him about our stresses, but we pick them back up after our prayer and carry them with us. That’s not good for our mind, our body or our spirit. We must trust God enough that we hand off our problems to Him, and we must be willing to not pick them back up. God cares for you enough that He doesn’t want you weighed down by worry or slowed by stress. He’s willing to take those things off of our hands and give us His burden which is light. We just have to be humble enough to make the trade.

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