The Bible tells us not to worry over and over again…
- Don’t worry about everyday life. Matt 6:25
- Do not worry about tomorrow. Matt 6:34
- Give all your worries to God. 1 Peter 5:7
- Don’t worry about clothes or food. Matt 6:31
- Don’t worry about how to respond, or about threats, or about the lost Donkeys…
- Do not worry about anything! Phil 4:6
Don’t worry, don’t worry, don’t worry!
And still… we worry.
Why? Eckhart Tolle tells us why. He says “Worry pretends to be necessary.”
Basically, our brain thinks that if we worry, somehow it will help us improve our situation. Our brain is wrong. Worrying never helps.
So What is Worry?
Worry is an emotion caused by a concerning thought about something from your past or fears about your future.
Worry is when you take a negative thought and think about it over and over again.
By pretending to be necessary, worry creates the illusion that it will help us, protect us, or fix things somehow.
We think if we worry about the past, it will help us avoid pain in the future.
We think if we worry about the future, it will drive us to make better choices.
Does Worry Ever Help?
No! Worry never helps. Why do you think we are told not to worry over and over again in the Bible? It has no worthwhile, positive effect. The only effect is negative.
When you worry about your past, nothing in your past changes.
When you worry about your future, you create negative emotions
like anxiety and fear just by imagining all the problems that could be associated
with something that likely isn’t even going to happen!
When you try to make a wise decision, do you ever try to drum up some anxiety and fear in order to fuel the best possible decision making? I doubt it.
I don’t know about you, but when I have fear and anxiety, I like to snuggle in bed and watch Netflix. Not exactly the place I’m going to make wise choices about my future.
We make our best forward decisions from a place of hope and confidence. Those emotions are not compatible with worry.
Worry is going to sabotage your forward motion, not enhance it.
Stop it! Stop Worrying!
(Just a little aside. If you want to watch a great sketch on how to “stop it,” check out this one from Bob Newhart. One of my favorites. Stop It!)
One of the best ways to stop worrying is to come back to the present moment.
Here is an example. The most recent worry I have conquered is about having enough money. I used to worry that I wouldn’t have enough money at retirement, to pay for kids’ college/weddings, pay off my debt, and so on. Money is a common worry.
What if, instead of worrying, I came back to the present moment. In the current moment, I can see that I have all the money I need for today. I have a way to get food. I have clothes. My needs are met. Isn’t that what money is about? Paying for needs? Right now, I have everything I need. I am okay. Nothing has gone wrong and I have all the money I need.
Taking time to bring myself back to the current moment and taking a breath. I can allow the worry to dissipate. When I am no longer sitting in worry, I can consider things I can do to positively affect my future. When I am relaxed and thinking of possibilities for growing my finances, I allow myself to feel hopeful and confident.
“Everything is okay right now. I have all I need for today. This is good. Let me about what I can do next in my life. Maybe I want to consider a job change. Maybe I want to sell my house, get a roommate, start a business, invest each month, get a loan, go back to school, hire a financial coach…”
When I step out of my worry, I take back control of my ability to reason, hope, and plan.
Four Steps to Stop Worrying
Managing worry takes practice. Let me boil it down into a few practical steps.
1) Before you stop worrying, you need to acknowledge the worry. It’s there. Don’t deny it. Notice it, be curious about it, and identify exactly what you are worried about. For example, money. What are you truly worried about, not having enough for retirement? Paying bills? Paying off debt? Succeeding? What others will think? Once you know what you are truly worried about you can address it.
2) Identify what is in your control and what is not. If you have ever been coached by me, you know exactly what is in your control and what is not. Let go of what you cannot control. If you are hoping to change someone else’s behavior so you can stop worrying, that ain’t gonna happen. Brainstorm what you want to do in the areas you can control. You can control your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Stay there. Stay in your lane.
3) Take a step forward with one of your brainstormed ideas. In my money example, maybe you decided applying for a new job is in your control. Then decide to update your resume and apply at organizations that will pay what you need or want.
4) Give yourself tons of grace and trust. God offers you an endless supply of grace. Beating yourself up for your past choices is not useful. Stop it. Trust in God’s plan. He knew exactly where you would be today. He promises to meet your needs–the ones that truly matter. Everything is okay. You are right on track on your journey. God knew. Trust.
These steps may be a new way of doing things. They will take practice. A habit or worrying will not break overnight. It will break over weeks and months of managing your thoughts and feelings and being intentional in your actions. But it is totally possible.
If you have something that you are still worrying about and you would like to talk it through with me, sign up for a free, no obligation coaching session with me. Let me help you. It’s free.
Are you telling yourself terrible things about yourself along side of worrying? Things like, “I screwed this up. I don’t have what it takes to handle this. I’ll never get it right.” Beating yourself up only compounds worry and anxiety.
Get this FREE GUIDE and stop beating yourself up today!!!
Check out “It’s Okay if People Are Wrong About You” for more insight on navigating life and relationships.