Friday, April 27, 2018

How to Replace Worry With Encouragement




Does worry haunt you on a regular basis? Worry has been an unwelcome friend of mine, and by replacing it with encouragement, I've learned how to kick worry out.

I grew up in a family of worriers. Even though they are Christians, many of my loved ones were bitten by the worry bug at young ages. They never seemed to stop worrying about what the future may hold. Their worry-wart ways affected me too, and I struggled with worry more often in my younger days.

On personality tests, I always test positive as a cautious person. I have never climbed a tree, never jumped off a diving board, and never ridden a horse. My risk-averse nature has kept me from breaking a single bone, but perhaps worry had something to do with it too.

My God-given traits for seeking security can often turn into worry. But I don't want worry to cast a dark shadow over my faith just because I'm a naturally cautious person.


Everyday life is full of worry triggers. But I can keep my worry cycle going without anyone's help. If my husband is late, my long-held fear of abandonment kicks in. I instantly imagine he's in a ditch, dying from a heart attack with no one to help. Zero to high drama in one second--that's where worry takes me. What a burden!

Today's verse tells us how worry feels: heavy. It weighs us down, like a wool coat in summer. Like a stuffed-full book bag that makes a kindergartener wobble. Anything that weighs us down slows us down. Worry keeps us from fulfilling our purposes and living the life God wants us to live.

Jesus talked directly about worry. In Matthew 6:25-34 He explained that God cares for the wild birds so lovingly, perfectly meeting their needs for food and shelter. He commands us not to worry because God will provide all we need. Jesus wants us to trust Him completely, so we won't be burdened by worry any more.

Take your heavy worries to Jesus and replace them with His encouragement.


God offers us a solution for our worries in this proverb. While worry weighs you down, encouragement lifts you up.

Speak words of encouragement to yourself when worry strikes. Place these verses on sticky notes or 3 x 5 cards for instant encouragement: 
  • But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
  • But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
  • See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 NIV
What other verses are encouraging to you? Post those special verses in prominent areas to lift your spirits.

Another way to be lifted up is to cut out worry triggers. Does watching the news every morning make you worry? Does a certain friend share information that worries you? Identify your worry triggers and either eliminate them or limit your time of exposure. Don't place yourself in the seat of worry if you can avoid it.

Choose friends and influencers who encourage you. Schedule a coffee break with a positive friend. Listen to an uplifting podcast or watch some inspiring videos. Seek out encouragement, and your worry burdens will lift.

By replacing worry with encouragement, your spirits will lift, and your trust in God will grow.


Blessings and God's peace to you,


Photo from Canva.com

Discussion questions:

  1. What time of day are you most prone to worry? What verse can you meditate upon in that particular time to overcome your worry?
  2. Who is the most encouraging person you know? Make time this week to chat, whether on the phone or face-to-face, with that person this week.

2 comments:

  1. Great practical tips, Sarah! Your tips on cutting the worry triggers and replacing them with what will encourage reminds me of the verse about putting garbage in then garbage will be coming out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting, Kelly! I appreciate you, friend!

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