Some time ago I saw an ad at a local bank promoting “Worry-Free Checking”; as in, I can put my money in their bank and not have to worry about all the hidden fees that come along with the account (e.g. overdraft, atm, minimum deposit, etc.). What a great idea, a checking account and I don’t have to worry about the fees.
What about a worry-free life? Do you find yourself worrying about life? Worrying about unpaid bills, doctor visits, parent-teacher meetings, confrontation with your spouse, your health, your child’s health, that rattle sound from under the hood of the car… the list could go on and on. We worry, and it seems that life continues to throw stuff our way to worry about. But the fact is we know it’s not healthy to worry, but how do we stop?
Philippians chapter 4 offers some wisdom for us on how to live a worry-free life. Consider the following steps we can take to get worry-free:
Step One: Do Not Be Anxious About Anything
I know, it sounds really simple. It’s like telling someone who is prone to worry to “Just Stop Worrying”; or telling yourself to, “Stop looking at the cup on your desk, no, stop looking and thinking about the cup on your desk. Don’t think about the cup on your desk.” It’s hard to stop thinking/worrying about something when it seems to be right in front of us all the time. Nevertheless, Step One is all about our mental approach. God is telling us to have a mindset that we will not be anxious about ANYTHING. In fact, say that out loud: “I WILL NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING.”
Step Two: Pray About Everything
I can spend a great deal of mental energy worrying about a current issue in my life with no solution for all the effort. What I need to do is train myself to pray about all the things I could stress out and worry about.
Your prayer might sound like this:
“God, I have been having some odd feelings in my stomach, I don’t know what they are. I hope it’s not cancer. Father, if it is cancer, I don’t know what I will do. Please give me the strength, courage, wisdom, and finance to get a professional opinion about these pains. Please help me not to worry – You know I want to. Help me to trust in You and the Body of Christ to come along-side of me and help/comfort me. I am afraid, so help me to trust You. I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.”
Pray about everything, tell God exactly how you feel.
Step Three: Be Thankful
This step is critical in your plan of action because up to this point worry has been the theme of each step. Now, God tells us to change the way we think. Stop thinking about what you are worrying about and start thinking about what you have been blessed with.
I remember my first job out of college; I was working at a small Christian school that didn’t pay very well. Looking back I didn’t really have anything to worry about, but at the time I found myself worrying about being lonely (I was single and living in a new town), I worried about paying the bills with a small income, being successful in this new job (I was doing a job I had never done before in front of others). I remember one night coming home to my apartment feeling very down emotionally. I just sat there for several minutes feeling sorry for myself and wondering where my life was headed. Then, I started to look around and I noticed all the STUFF in my small apartment; stuff that was given to me. Then my brain started to race, I grabbed a pad of paper and walked around my apartment writing down all the STUFF that I had (that was gifted to me). WOW!!! I ended up with a list that took up several pages. It brought me to my knees; it brought me to tears of gratitude. I remember crying out to God in thanksgiving for all HE had done through the Body of Christ. My depression turned to joy because I chose to be thankful for how God blessed me.
Step Four: Tell God
This is very similar to step two, so I will not spend much time on it. But simply stated, tell God what is going on and what you are worried about, how you feel, what you think, and how the current situation is affecting you. Make your request to know to God.
Step Five: Rest
This is God’s part; you get to rest and allow God to do what HE can do. God says that: when we stop worrying about the stuff that is already out of our control, when we pray about everything, when we are thankful about what is happening, and when we tell Him what we need; then, HE will take care of the rest and HE will guard our heart and mind.
That is worry-free living. It easy; yet, it is hard because it will require us to give up control of the stuff we really don’t have control over anyway. Worry-Free Living, it’s so peaceful.