2 Keys to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety

soul-level strength

What to do when you can’t stop wringing your hands

Over many years in church leadership, I’ve learned that there are no more powerful tools at my disposal than prayer and the Word.

You may be a naturally gifted leader, but eventually, that falls short, runs dry, or hits a lid. A deepened dependence upon God is your ultimate source for healthy, accomplished, and lasting leadership.

To this end, I’ve written my newest book: Leadership Alone Isn’t Enough: 40 Devotions To Strengthen Your Soul.

These 40 devotions are written for leaders and provide practical insights from Scripture and experience to help establish a more direct connection between your relationship with God and your role as a leader so that ultimately, you lead from a place of soul-level strength. 

In this article, I’d like to give you one of the devotions from my book.

WAGE WAR ON WORRY

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” 

Matthew 6:33-34

Worry is a waste of time, and we know it, but we still worry about stuff.

We worry about our kids, problems at work, money matters, health issues, and who will be elected to office.

We worry about big things and little things, but mostly about things that never happen.

Being follically challenged and growing up in Southern California means I received more than my share of sunshine. I’ve had skin cancer on the top of my head twice now. Both times the doctor used a surgical technique called Mohs and declared me all clear. Nonetheless, the first time I had skin cancer, I worried about what might happen if it came back. The second time, I worried about getting it a third time.

Do you see the pattern? Worrying about this is nothing more than wasted thoughts. A better remedy is to use sunblock, wear a hat, and get on with life!

The real problem with worry is that it consumes productive energy and leaves you with little to show for your time except an inability to focus, a lack of confidence, and emotional exhaustion.

“What if?” is the battle cry of a leader who worries.

• What if the income doesn’t come back up?

• What if we don’t get the certificate of occupancy by grand opening?

• What if my leadership isn’t accepted?

While some contingency planning is good for strategy, it’s not a remedy for worry.

Consider Jesus’ words in Luke 12:25, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

The answer is none of us! Worry never adds value to your situation nor does it do anything to strengthen your soul.

In fact, if we don’t wage war on worry, the enemy actually has room to advance in stealthy ways to take soul territory.

Worry erodes your trust in God.

It’s difficult to develop faith when you worry because they are contradictory concepts.

Worry is focused on something undesirable that might happen, while faith is focused on the potential for a positive outcome based on God’s provision.

God isn’t obligated to “perform” for us, but he has proven worthy of our trust and faith. In fact, there’s never been a time when God made a mistake.

Worry dilutes your ability to serve and give yourself to others.

Worry, like an illness, shrinks your world.

The greater the illness, the smaller your world. When you’re really sick, your focus is solely on yourself. It’s not that you’re selfish; you’re simply consumed! Your heart and mind may still desire to give of yourself to others, but significant worry can considerably diminish your capacity to give.

Worry zaps you of physical, emotional and mental energy.

Worry is like leaving your flashlight permanently on. The battery that was designed to last for a long time with normal usage is completely drained in a couple of days. The light slowly grows dim and then flickers out.

Likewise, worry drains your personal battery in a very short time. When operating your human engine in healthy ways, your God-given energy will cover all your needs.

Waging war on worry requires truth and action.

Two Steps:

1. Confess that what you’re worried about hasn’t happened and acknowledge that every minute thinking about it is lost.

2. Take action on what you can change. What you can’t change isn’t a problem. It’s a fact of life that calls for you to adapt, not alter reality.

Do your best to replace your worried thoughts with these truths:

God hasn’t forgotten you; he’s always with you.
Through the promise of Scripture and life experience, you know God is with you even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Meditate on that truth.

You haven’t been given more than you can handle.
God promises to give you strength, and when your problems seem overwhelming, the Holy Spirit comforts you.

You’re not alone; there are always people who care about you.
God’s presence takes on human form through friends and family. Don’t overlook this significant blessing. Lean into their love and care.

Reflection:  What are you worried about today for which you can trust God?

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This article originally appeared on DanReiland.com and is reposted here by permission.