Overcome Fear, Anxiety, Worrying, & Stress

Overcome Fear, Anxiety, Worrying, & Stress

What would a life free from stress & anxiety look like?  Freedom, peace of mind, the ability to live in the moment- these things are more attainable than you may think.
I believe we live under the misconception that worrying is a necessary part of life.  If you are anything like me, you may even feel guilty if you aren’t worried!  As if your stress somehow makes you a more responsible person.  But if worrying consumes you, derails you, distracts you, or steals your joy, I want to encourage you that there is a better way to live, and it’s simpler than you think!
I want to encourage you to identify the root causes of worry in your life.  I’ve found that these are some key issues that could be causing the weight you’ve been carrying on your shoulders.

Root Causes of Worrying:

  • Having a false idea of what God is really like

  • Assuming responsibility for something God never intended for us to be responsible for

  • Not knowing about God’s promises for our lives

  • Just naturally allowing a negative attitude in life

If you don’t understand God’s character, you are bound to worry!  If you catch yourself fearing that God doesn’t care about your problems or the details of your life, you simply have some misconceptions of His character.  But I have good news!  God has made it easy for us to understand Him.  Billy Graham once said, If you want to know what God is like, take a close look at Jesus.”  Jesus shows us that God is personal, and He is personally interested in every area of your life!
Perhaps you fall into the second category.  Maybe you are carrying a burden that God never intended you to be responsible for!  There are many things outside our control: other people, weather, and so on.  And guess what, worrying about them won’t change them a bit!  Give your worries to God.  Not only is He compassionate, He is far more capable than we are to resolve our concerns.
Sometimes we worry because we just don’t know about God’s promises.  Think of it this way, let’s say you have an insurance policy, but you don’t know what it covers.  Without knowing what the insurance company has committed to, if an accident arose, you would certainly lose your peace, and maybe even end up paying for things you aren’t responsible for!
There are over 7000 promises in the Bible, and God has obligated Himself to you in those areas.  Just as your insurance takes responsibility for the items covered by your policy, God takes responsibility for the areas covered in His word.  It is up to us, however, to read His Word, and know His promises, so that we can claim them over our lives!
Perhaps your worrying is caused by having a naturally negative disposition.  Human nature is somewhat negative.  We focus on the bad- the what ifs, the dangers, the risks, and the threats.  But here is the great news!  We have been made new in God, and we can take on a new way of thinking!  Self-help books will tell you the power of positive thinking- but this is no new idea, the Bible simply calls it faith.  Your faith can provide you with hope and joy that sustains you through difficult times.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Couple that with God’s faithfulness, and we see that not only do we find a life free from worry, but we also find our needs met!
Now that you have identified what makes you susceptible to worrying, let’s focus on how you can be free from fear, anxiety & stress forever!

The Solution to Worrying:

 Identify the Source!  

    • What’s causing your worry?  Earl Nightingale shared some research.  In a study, they discovered that 40% of all our worries never happen.  How many things have you worried about that never happened?  They also found that 30% of worries concern things in the past.  Those things can’t be changed, you can’t unscramble those eggs!  12% of worries are needless concerns about health, 10% are designated as petty miscellaneous worries, and only 8% are legitimate concerns.  
    • If you are worried right now, grab a piece of paper and write down your worries.  Give them a name and a face.  This clears the clutter in your mind and gives you a first step to addressing your worries

Matthew 6:25-27 That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life- whether you have enough food or drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

Trust God!

    • Stop worrying and start trusting.  As we begin to know the Lord, we understand more and more how he cares for us.  As we begin to lift our fears up to Him, He shows us that He is faithful to take care of us.  When I was a kid needing lunch money, I would just go and ask my dad.  I didn’t worry about how he got the money or where it came from, that wasn’t my responsibility.  Just as a loving parent cares for their child, even more so does the Lord care for us!  

Psalm 37:3 NLT Trust in the Lord and do good.  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper!

Delight yourself in the Lord!

Psalm 37:4 NLT Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

    • As you learn to enjoy spending time with God, you will find that your life has more balance, more peace.  The joy of the Lord is our strength, and as we develop our joy, and strengthen our Spirit, we are stronger and better equipped to handle the stresses of life.  This scripture isn’t a guarantee that all your prayers will be answered as you see fit, (though don’t forget about all those promises the Lord is committed to!) but rather, that as you spend time with Him, your hearts deepest desires and needs will be met, and you will find wholeness in Him.

Commit your ways to the Lord.

Psalm 37:5-6 NIV Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

    • How do you commit your ways to the Lord?  You pray.  When you begin to feel fear set in, pray.  When you don’t know what to do, pray.  Let your response be prayer instead of panic.
    • If I were to ask you to throw a 200-pound rock fifty yards, you would say it’s impossible.  But if I told you just to drop it, anyone can do that!  That’s what God wants you to do with your problems, he wants you to drop them and allow Him to carry the weight for you.

Live a God-First Life!

    • We were created to live in fellowship and connection with God.  Putting God first in our lives honors and glorifies Him, but it also fills the hole within our souls.  God truly becomes your anchor, and as the tides of life try to pull you in whichever way, you can sleep easy, knowing that you are anchored by the one who is greater than your storm.  
What does a God-First life look like?  It means this, that you offer yourself to Him.  You make a commitment to getting to know Him, and doing your best to follow the path He has laid out for you!  It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect, no one is, and that’s okay.  It simply means you acknowledge His role of Authority in your life, and trust Him.  Trust Him actively with your mind, trust Him with your actions, trust Him with your Life.  This won’t be a one-time decision.  It will be a daily decision, sometimes hourly or even multiple times within a moment, where you reconnect with Him and walk out His will for your life.  The truth is, the solution to fear may not always be easy, but it is simple.  Trust God with your life, in every way.  You were created to live your life connected to Him, and as you practice your faith, your worries will be replaced with peace.
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