4 Steps to Stop Worrying

I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. I suppose I chose this verse today for myself as much as for anybody. Anxiety and worry, is more often than not, emotionally crippling, physically damaging, and spiritually deadening. I find myself slipping back in a worrying mode about so many things which I have no control over. Much too often, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to put on a heavy backpack, which I’ve lugged around day after day, filled with “life issues” that I worry over. 

If like me, you happen to feel, on a regular basis, the heaviness of anxiety and worry or perhaps you simply wake up feeling restless and antsy about the future, you may want to try these four action steps to stop worrying…to lighten the load in that backpack.

4 Steps to Stop Worrying

1. FIGHT.  Don’t be idle with your worry. In other words, there is a way to fight worry and not to have it overwhelm your life. Too often we run from one worry to the next. We battle to keep plates loaded with worry spinning in a blur, yet the plates will always fall and break and before the day is over, we find ourselves totally wasted and defeated. We’ve been fighting the worry dragon all wrong. Fighting worry in our strength will slay us.

Essentially, when we worry we are saying we don’t believe that God is in control of our life. We forget how much our Heavenly Father loves us…that He will never abandon us. Fight against the urge to spin another plate by meditating on the promises of God. Instead of listening to your own voice, spinning thoughts inside your head, listen to God’s words instead. Fight for experiencing more grace. Make the choice to speak the gospel to yourself. Fight the urge to spin another plate with prayer instead…ask God to give you faith to trust him. It is worth the fight.

2. TRUST. To totally trust God is a choice. We fight the battle of unbelief with preaching the gospel of grace to ourselves and now we must choose to let go and trust God. Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” This verse doesn’t imply that we will never be afraid but it tells us what to do when we are fearful or when we are worrying. The psalmist says to take action when we are afraid…we are to put our trust in God. When we worry and stay afraid, we are not trusting God for the practical details in our life. “The surest way to find out if you can trust God? Is just trust Him. The free fall of faith is what makes you free.”  [1]   

3. SURRENDER. To surrender doesn’t mean defeat, quite the contrary, to surrender your worry over to God will give you power to live free. You know you’re surrendered to God when you rely on God to work things out instead of trying to manipulate others, force your agenda, and control the situation. [2]Surrender yourself to the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:7)

A surrendered life is also a life of constant repenting. Repenting that once again, plates filled with worry and fear are spinning…repent of idle thoughts that rob true joy and peace found in Christ. A surrendered life is a prayerful life…the action step of casting all your anxiety on him. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) That is another promise you can trust! 

4. SING.  To sing is the catalyst of worship. Singing forms the words of our prayers and petitions and even our muddled thoughts into beautiful poetry of worship. When worry is making life hard, then sing even louder. Singing songs of happy praise will ease the battle fatigue of spinning plates. Worry fades when the hum of grace-filled music floods your mind and emotions. Singing makes for a cheerful heart and there is no room for worry there.

It’s been a stressful and crazy few weeks around here and honestly, I’ve been spinning lots of plates piled high with worry. I’m so grateful for the encouragement gleaned from God’s promises and his daily dose of grace to fight the good fight, to totally trust him, to live a surrendered life, and to sing…to experience freedom.

[1] A Holy Experience | [2] Daily Hope with Rick Warren, Surrender: Let Go and Let God Work

A Forever Season of God’s Faithfulness

Forever Faithful Seasons of Life

Life is a lot like the weather…it’s seasonal. It has a way of pushing us into the next season whether we like it or not.  And the seasons are constantly changing in our home.

Little ones are growing quickly and want a new adventure to experience everyday while our white-haired loved ones do not want anymore adventures…they just want to tell us about the wild ones they had as young adults and the often challenging seasons of life they experienced years gone by. We have experienced loss, brokenness and desperate grief and yet have celebrated the total opposite of all that.

Regardless of your season in life, you can count on God’s faithfulness. God’s faithfulness is a constant in a season of change.

The word faithful can be illustrated by the image of the strong arms of a father that uphold and protect his helpless child. When the word faithful is used with regard to God, it means that He is worthy of absolute trust, and that we can depend upon Him without doubt or reservation. It is important to understand that God is faithful, not because He does everything we want, but because He does everything that He has promised. [1]

The following are ways you can depend on God’s forever season of faithfulness:

A. The character of faithfulness is ascribed to God:

  1. Deuteronomy 7:9 The faithfulness of God keeps covenant and steadfast love…
  2. Deuteronomy 32:4 The God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright…
  3. Hosea 11:12 The Holy One who is faithful…
  4. I Peter 4:19 The faithful creator

B. God is faithful to do all that he has promised:

  1. Psalm 135:5-7 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does…
  2. Isaiah 14:27 For the Lord has purposed…who will annul it?
  3. Ephesians 1:11 We have obtained an inheritance…
  4. Isaiah 54:10 My steadfast love shall not depart from you…

C. Not one word of all the words that God has spoken has failed:

  1. Joshua 23:14 …not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised…
  2. I Kings 8:56 …not one word has failed of all his good promise…
  3. Isaiah 40:8 …the word of God will stand forever.

D. We can trust God to be forever faithful:

  1. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
  2. 2 Timothy 2:13 …if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
  3. Deuteronomy 7:9  Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
  4. 1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are seasons in the lives of all when it is not easy to believe that God is faithful. However, remember this: “Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

We can look upwards to the stars of night, and see the “faithfulness” of God “established” in the material heavens. Our unfaithfulness to trust never alters the faithfulness of God. [2]

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

How are you experiencing God’s faithfulness in your season of life? 


[1] The One True God, Paul Washer │[2] The Faithfulness of God, John Macduff

A View of the Unexpected

A view of the unexpected

I am loving the view from here and it’s not what I expected to see. It is not what I anticipated to have a fondness for. I drive past this quiet stream, near a meadow of yellow flowers, several times throughout the week.  It is a comforting view of stillness and calm of beautiful yellow and green against the blue sky and blue waters.

After driving past this meadow of yellow marigolds for several weeks, I decided to stop driving, park my car… and use my camera to remember what captivated my attention each time I passed by.

God does that. He gives the unexpected of stillness and calm, a simple view of His grandeur. It is good to stop and soak it up.

For the moment, I am content with the view of yellow but I know that it will change in a few days. The farmers will plow the yellow land and plant seeds for a harvest of corn. The view of the farm lands around my home have changed in preparation for the harvest to come.

Stopping to look at this quiet plot of land, waiting to be plowed and seeded, made me think about my own life. It looks pretty on the outside, but it needs constant plowing on the inside.

The average stuff needs to be plowed away in order for the awesome stuff to grow.

This is the unexpected view into my heart. Ready to be plowed and seeded. Waiting for the awesome that God will cause to grow.

You may enjoy reading this too:

The Story of All Things New

Courageous for Something

Linking-up with everyone for, Five-Minute-Friday. The word theme is: View. 

Five Minute Friday: Dive

Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: DIVE.

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and our families ventured to a water park complete with large inner tubes to float down the lazy river. Super size slides and water tunnels did not intimate the adults sliding down right after their children. The large swimming area with a few cascading waterfalls and smooth rock side finish gave the effect of a mountain pool. There were a few life guards but  with so many children and adults splashing and making happy noises, they did not see a child struggling  in the deep end of the pool, very close to the water fall. She was frantically trying to get to the side of the pool and the look on her face was that of fear and terror  She went under and kicked herself back up for air and struggled more. I shouted to the life guards to HELP but my voice could not penetrate through the noise.

The only voice  that was penetrating through the noise was that of my own voice…in my head that said, DIVE!

And I did. I swam to her and she saw me coming. When I was close enough she began grabbing for me for her safety. She was struggling and I feared we would both go under the water.

STOP FIGHTING ME! I shouted. TRUST ME! She stopped flailing her arms long enough for me to quickly turn her around and slide my left arm under hers and kicked and pulled through the water with my right arm…we made it to the ladder on the other side of the pool. I was breathless. Relieved. She was rescued.

Sometimes helping friends in need is risky. It may cost you something of great value. It may require you to DIVE into their mess and unknown struggles to rescue them from serious consequences. DIVE in and call out for God the rescuer to help you both find peace and safety.

Sometimes we struggle against others helping us. We fight against what is good and right. Sometimes we don’t trust our helper because we are drowning in fear, pain, worry and hopelessness.

Stop struggling against God. You’re gasping for air and Jesus says, “TRUST ME! I am the great RESCUER! I will DIVE in for you. I have already been to the depths for you. Stop struggling against ME…I love you with an everlasting love. I will rescue you!”


Five Minute Friday

Praying for You, Children’s Ministry

“Tosha walking down a winding path full of uncertainties and high Austrian Mountains ahead, but one he knows will lead him home, for it’s daddy’s path and Tosha knows & trusts me completely.”
~photo credits and used by permission: David Beatty
One photograph that is filled with thousands of words. This is the first of many notes to come using some of those words; the first of many thoughts that come to mind when I look at this photo. 
A little boy walking blissfully on a path that twists and turns. The towering mountain in the distance looks ominous, yet there he goes, holding his sticks, walking confidently. The path twists and turns and he cannot see what lies ahead around the bend, but he is unfettered by fear and anxiety. He knows that his father is with him. He knows that his father chose this path for him to explore. This is an adventure!

This is my adventure, too. I’m like that little boy who is walking on a path of twists and turns…named Children’s Ministry. I see the mountain ahead and wonder if there is anyway to go around it or if necessary, will I have the wits and strength to climb up it. Sometimes there is confidence and unfettered resolve to charge ahead around that bend of unknown but often that confidence and resolve is stumbling along that path, tripping on the stones and ruts along the way. There is a bit of fear and anxiety when I face the mountain of details…the mountain of staffing needs…the mountain of time needed to give…

I know my Father is with me. I know my Father chose this path for me to explore. I am confident that I am on the right path. I begin to pray with confidence. I am praying for myself, though. It’s all about me again. Here I go again, needing everything and everyone to orbit around my needs…including God. Children’s Ministry is not about me. Children’s Ministry is all about children, ministering to children for the glory of God. Children’s Ministry is about serving families and becoming a servant leader with many volunteers. Children’s Ministry does not belong to me. 

My prayers shift to praying for you, Children’s Ministry. There are other people on that path in the photo. I imagine them in front of me around the corner leading the way.  I imagine them trusting God to lead them down this same adventurous path that I walk on.  I imagine them following me; looking up at that same mountain and praying for Children’s Ministry too. 

…while we might commend this duty by quoting innumerable examples from the lives of eminent saints, it is enough for the disciple of Christ if we say that Christ in His holy gospel has made it your duty and your privilege to intercede for others. When he taught us to pray, he said, “Our Father,” and the expressions which follow are not in the singular but in the plural–“Give us this day our daily bread.” “Forgive us out debts”; “Lead us not into temptation;” evidently intending to set forth that none of us are to pray for ourselves alone…”
~from the sermon “Intercessory Prayer” delivered on August 11, 1861, by Charles H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London
Praying for YOU, Children’s Ministry!