- Pray, first. Don’t pace up and down the floors of the waiting room; pray for a successful surgery. Don’t bemoan the collapse of an investment; ask God to help you. Don’t join the chorus of co-workers who complain about your boss; invite them to bow their heads with you and pray for him. Inoculate yourself inwardly to face your fears outwardly. “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him . . . ” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
- Easy, now. Slow down. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him” (Ps. 37:7). Imitate the mother of Jesus at the wedding in Cana. The reception was out of wine, a huge social no-no in the days of Jesus. Mary could have blamed the host for poor planning or the guests for overdrinking, but she didn’t catastrophize. No therapy sessions or counseling. Instead, she took the shortage straight to Jesus. “When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine’ ” ( John 2:3). See how quickly you can do the same. Assess the problem. Take it to Jesus and state it clearly.
- Act on it. Become a worry-slapper. Treat frets like mosquitoes. Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your skin? “I’ll take care of it in a moment.” Of course you don’t! You give the critter the slap it deserves. Be equally decisive with anxiety. The moment a concern surfaces, deal with it. Don’t dwell on it. Head off worries before they get the best of you. Don’t waste an hour wondering what your boss thinks; ask her. Before you diagnose that mole as cancer, have it examined. Instead of assuming you’ll never get out of debt, consult an expert. Be a doer, not a stewer.
- Compile a worry list. Over a period of days record your anxious thoughts. Maintain a list of all the things that trouble you. Then review them. How many of them turned into a reality? You worried that the house would burn down. Did it? That your job would be outsourced. Was it?
- Evaluate your worry categories. Your list will highlight themes of worry. You’ll detect recurring areas of preoccupation that may become obsessions: what people think of you, finances, global calamities, your appearance or performance. Pray specifically about them.
- Focus on today. God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed. “Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help” (Heb. 4:16 NEB).
- Unleash a worry army. Share your feelings with a few loved ones. Ask them to pray with and for you. They’re more willing to help than you might imagine. Less worry on your part means more happiness on theirs.
- Let God be enough. Jesus concludes his call to calmness with this challenge: “Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt. 6:32–33 NLT).
Max Lucado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life without Fear (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012).
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