Worry Stones and 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 pillows. 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 that 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 (i.e., anxiety) spelled out. We’re told time and time again (e.g., Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 4:7) that we don’t have to carry the weight of our problems and cares.
We’re promised that God will sustain us. He cares for us and will never let us fall. The Bible tells us that God is able and willing to be our strength and support mentally, physically, and spiritually. It also tells us that his 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.
Cast Your Cares
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:
- Pray often. Often means frequently throughout the day.
- Read God’s Word. Fill my mind with truth daily, and more so as struggles amplify.
- 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. As you take steps, however small, to direct your thinking toward God’s goodness, mercy, and grace, your thoughts transform. As thoughts transform, feelings do too.
Refuse to Give Up
These small steps — praying, reading, and meditating on Scripture — add up over time to make a transformational 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.