How to Let Go of Worry
- Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dr. Linda Mintle's book, Letting Go of Worry: Finding God’s Plan for Peace and Contentment, (Harvest House Publishers, 2011).
Living in a fallen world gives you lots to worry about, but living in a relationship with Jesus can free you from ever having to worry about anything. No matter what happens in your life, you don’t have to worry about it if you choose to rely on Jesus to help you manage it and find peace in the process.
So if you’ve been in the habit of worrying, let go of worry and embrace the peace that Jesus offers you. Here’s how:
Recognize how little worry can help you. Worry doesn’t have the power to prevent anything bad from happening in your life. Also, the bad things that you worry about may never end up happening, and many good things can happen instead. So worry is completely useless.
Recognize how much worry harms you. Worrying doesn’t benefit you in any way, but it does harm you in many ways. Worry harms your health physically (such as by contributing to high blood pressure, causing insomnia, and suppressing your immune system), mentally (by sending a stream of negative thoughts into your mind), and spiritually (by encouraging fear rather than faith in God). Worry also wastes valuable time and energy that you could be using for better activities.
Distinguish between worry and concern. While it’s healthy to be concerned about something, it’s unhealthy to worry about it. That’s because concern motivates you to do something to solve problems or plan helpful ways to cope with them, but worry keeps you stuck on problems and distracts you from planning any helpful ways of dealing with them.
Identify what triggers worry in your life. You can begin to worry whenever: you encounter a situation that feels out of control; you feel vulnerable or powerless; you let your imagination run away with negative thoughts about what may happen in the future; or you experience a loss that’s traumatic, difficult, or unexpected. Once you understand what triggers worry in your life, you can begin to guard against worry in those situations.
Make a crucial choice. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop bad things from happening, because you live in a fallen world. However, you do have the choice of how you respond to whatever happens. You can decide to stop dwelling on worrisome thoughts after they enter your mind, and to pray about those thoughts instead, inviting God to work in the situation about which you had been worrying. Choose to pray instead of worrying.
Trust God to deal with what worries you. Since God wants the best for you, is always with you, and has the power to do anything, you can trust any worrisome situation to Him and invite Him to work it out for the best. When you struggle to trust God with something that’s worrying you, ask God to reveal whatever unbelief or unhealed wounds may be preventing you from trusting Him completely. Confess those to God and ask Him to give you the faith and healing you need.
Change your worrisome thoughts rather than suppressing them. The more you try not to think about something that worries you, the more preoccupied your mind becomes with that thought, which makes you think about it even more. So suppressing thoughts about your worries doesn’t work. Instead, pray for the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and help you evaluate how every thought that enters it compares to biblical truth. When the Holy Spirit shows you that a worrisome thought doesn’t reflect what’s true, you can replace that thought with a new thought that’s based on the reality of what God says is true.
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