The Only Solution to Worry

Worn Out from Worry

Couldn’t sleep the other night. Worry consumed my mind. Racing thoughts kept me awake even though fatigue pulled at my eyelids.

The next day, worry destroyed my schedule. All-consuming thoughts stole my focus.

As a result, I became completely worn out from worry.

Worry Stones & Dolls

You can buy small, oval stones called worry stones. They’re smooth and just the right size to hold in your hand and stroke with your thumb. The idea is that this activity helps reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

The Guatemalans created worry dolls as a remedy for worrying. Mayan legend says a person who couldn’t sleep would tell their worries to worry dolls, and then place the dolls under their pillow. The dolls supposedly took the person’s worries away to allow for restful sleep.

I get the idea behind worry stones and dolls. It fulfills the need to release nervous energy. While I don’t have a stone or a doll to easy my worries, I do turn to cleaning and exercising in an attempt to push them away.

Problem is, this activity only puts a band aid on the problem. They help, sure, but they do little to actually remedy my habitually worrisome mindset.

The Only Solution for Worry

When I am discouraged and bogged down by life’s cares, I begin to worry in an attempt to avoid or solve anticipated threats. As a result, I only meet with frustration and uncontrollable negative thoughts.

Eventually, though, I do hear the Holy Spirit’s voice through the noise and am led to the only solution for my worry.

“Do not be anxious (do not worry) about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NASB)

“Cast all your anxiety (worries) on him (Christ) because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, NASB)

“Cast all your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22, NASB)

In both the Old and the New Testaments, we find the only solution to worry (anxiety) spelled out. We’re told time and time again (also see Matthew 11:28-30 and Philippians 4:7) that we don’t have to carry the weight of our problems and cares.

We’re promised…

God will sustain us. He cares for us and will never let us fall.

Scripture tells us that God is able and willing to be our strength and support mentally, physically and spiritually. It also tells us that his care (love) for us is His motivation for doing so.

A Common Struggle

Though we often feel alone in our struggles, especially when worry runs rampant through our minds, we have to realize at some point that this simply isn’t true.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NASB)

The temptation to worry is a common struggle.  Fortunately, we are given ways of escape and endurance. We simply do not have to succumb to the temptation to worry. And while we can’t directly change how we feel, we can change our thoughts. Our feelings, which are products of our thoughts, then change too.

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. ” (Philippians 4:8, AMP)

“Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2, NASB)

We have a choice where we allow our thoughts to focus. We simply do not have to allow them to dwell on negativity and worry.

How to Cast Your Worries on Christ

The only way I know to truly cast my worries on Christ and to direct my thoughts towards that which is excellent and worthy of praise is to…

  1. Pray often. Often means frequently throughout the day.
  2. Read God’s Word. Fill my mind with truth daily, and more so as struggles amplify.
  3. Meditate on God’s Word. Let it become the compass for my thinking.

Worry pulls at your mind the more you give into it and let it consume your thinking. But as you take steps, however small, to direct your thinking toward God’s goodness, mercy and grace, your thoughts transform. And as thoughts transform, feelings do too.

Persevere & Refuse to Give Up

These small steps — praying, reading & meditating on Scripture — add up over time to make a huge — a transforming — difference in a person’s life. Keep taking those small steps.

Persevere through the temptation to worry. Refuse to give up and give in to negativity. Pursue truth and excellence and loveliness and purity and wholesomeness.

How to… Stay Pure

Originally, the title of this post was going to be “How to… Stay Pure as a Young Person,” but then my 13-year-old son studied Psalm 119:9-16 and said, “This really applies to everyone, not just young people.” So, in the amazing wisdom that God gives through children, let’s talk about a lifetime of purity.

First, what do we mean by purity? Purity means to be free from guilt or evil, to be innocent. It can also mean stainless or whiteness. Spiritually, this means that regardless of our sins and the stains they created in our lives, “we can become as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

Second, how do we become pure? Psalm 51:1-10 says only God can make us pure. Apart from Him we cannot claim purity (Proverbs 20:9). Matthew 5:27-30 tells us that purity begins in the heart, and John 17:17 says that purity only comes from God. Regardless of your past, you can become pure by the cleansing power of His blood (Galatians 2:20).

Finally, how do we stay pure? The scripture that began this discussion between me and my son gives us the crystal clear answer to this question: Study and obey God’s Word.

How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you — don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)

10 Things a Young Person Should Do to Stay Pure

Because I asked him to, my son wrote a list of 10 ways a young person can stay pure based on Psalm 119:9-16. Here’s what he wrote:

  1. By living according to God’s Word. (v. 9)
  2. Seek God with all your heart. (v. 10)
  3. Hide God’s Word in your heart. (v. 11)
  4. Praise God. (v. 12)
  5. Follow God’s laws. (v. 13)
  6. Rejoice in following God’s statues. (v. 14)
  7. Meditate on God’s precepts. (v. 15)
  8. Consider God’s ways. (v. 15)
  9. Delight in God’s decrees. (v. 16)
  10. Don’t neglect God’s Word. (v. 16)

3 Basic Steps to Purity

My son then went beyond my request and offered these 3 basic steps for staying pure.

  1. Decide to live according to God’s Word.
  2. Fill yourself with God’s Word.
  3. Seek God in prayer each day and allow Him to live and work in your life.

As a parent, I am concerned about my kids straying (wandering) in an increasingly Godless culture. I wonder if and how they can avoid the scarring mistakes of teenage stupidity that can create a lifetime of struggle with guilt. Fortunately, God’s Word says a lot about how to become and remain pure. And as a parent, I can encourage purity, pray for purity and model purity. But it turns out that my kids can do the same for me.

DISCUSSION: What life lessons have you learned through your kids?

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