A fellow was working at a mental hospital and he as walking down the hallway. He saw a man with his ear against the wall and he had a worried look on his face. The employee at the hospital asked the patient, ‘What’s wrong?” The patient said, “Shhhh…” and he kept listening. Then the employee put his ear to the wall and said, “I don’t hear anything.” The patient said, “I know, it’s been like that all day. I’m worried about it!”
We know there are many verses in the Bible that tell us not to worry. The Old English root from which we get our word “worry” means “to strangle.” That’s a good description of the effects of worry in our lives. Here are four alternatives to worry that you can put to use starting now!
1. MEMORIZE! A great way to put your mind in the right place. Choose verses that relate to anxiety and God’s character. Write them on cards and carry them in your purse, pocket, or dashboard! Whenever you are in line, in traffic, at a stoplight or in a waiting room, read the verses slowly and meditatively.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11
What verses would you want to put into your heart? Which ones are most meaningful to you? When you begin to worry just slow down and rehearse those verse that are powerful and helpful.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret… – Psalm 37:7
2. STOP! Whenever your mind and body starts racing, take three or four long, deep breaths.Pray some of the verses you’ve been memorizing. Consider Philippians 4:6-8.
To think is an intentional act. I encourage you to learn short prayers that you can pray easily and repetitively, using Scripture.
All my anxiety, I place in your hands. 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Your grace is enough, your power rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 includes the truth, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ -Luke 18:13
3. LAUGH! Nehemiah 8:10 “…Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy and laughter will boost your strength. Find something to laugh about each day. Look for it! Laughter is a wonderful antidote to worry. It has been proven to relieve stress. What can you read that is humorous? There is an endless supply. Emails, cards, books, movies, anything that brings a smile. Billy Graham tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to post a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, ‘If you’ll come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.’ The boy replied, ‘I don’t think I’ll be there… You don’t even know your way to the post office.’
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.- Proverbs 17:22
4. PRAISE! As we pour our energies into praising God who created the mountains – and who can move them with a word – we will begin to see our worries shrink from their mountainous size. Take a walk and praise Him for the beautiful flowers He adorns with glory, the delicate hummingbird He cares for, and remember that you are far more important to Him than they are. Praise God for His promises!
Look at the birds. They don’t’ need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are.
– Matthew 6:26
Praise God for Today! Yesterday is a cancelled check, tomorrow is a promissory note, only today is cash! Work your way through the Psalms and adopt the language of praise!
Worry invades our thinking unexpectedly at times. Sometimes it gets stuck there and we have a hard time getting it out. Realize that you can choose to think about something else…something better! When we drive our cars at night the headlights do not shine all the way to our destinations. They shine just a few feet in front of the car. As we move forward they keep ahead of us. God’s light works the same way. The Master said, “Live one day at a time.”
Thanks for reading! As a resource for this post I used an article by Dr. Bruce Stewart as well as some other articles in my files. Audio of this message can be heard by clicking on the AUDIO tab above.