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Worry and anxiety are pretty much the same. Spiritually speaking, they both are rooted in fear which is essentially an inability to trust God no matter what.
Life brings many situations that challenge our ability to trust God. What can you do to worry less and trust more?
Worry Less By Focusing On The Present Moment
When you worry, you are looking too far ahead into the future. All of us would like to know the future. But it can interfere with your faith. If you could only have one or the other, God would always prefer you maintain your faith (your trust) in Him instead of knowing anything about the future.
How far into the future is too far to be looking? For some people or in some situations looking 100 years might be too far. But others can stir up anxiety even by looking 100 seconds. Where you focus is more important than how far ahead you look. If you try to find security somewhere out into the future, you will never find it because you will miss that God is with you in the present.
If you want to worry less, then reduce how far you are looking ahead until you reclaim a sense of peace. Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow (the future). Each day (the present) has enough to occupy you. If even the events of later in the day concern you, focus on the present moment. At this very second, there’s not a whole lot to be concerned about. Take one day (one moment, one second) at a time.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?Matthew 6:27,34 NIV
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
If you find yourself saying, “yes, but…” about something that’s going to be happening or needs to happen, then you’ve already shifted your focus away from the present and onto a future moment. If you want to experience peace instead of stress, stop and recenter yourself back to the present.
Worry Less By Surrendering All Outcomes to God
You might be having an awesome day and find it easy to trust God. You might be having a horrible day, month, or year but God would have you trust Him the same. Nothing should come between you and God. Bad luck? Nope. Evil? Nope. Disease? Nope. Your health? Nope. Your very life? Nope. See Romans 8:31-39 for more on this.
It’s easy to value your life more than God. If you suffer a serious illness, your very existence is threatened. Or is it? It really depends upon your perspective. As a believer, you’re going to live forever. Do you allow God to determine how long you will live in this life? Or are you wringing your hands trying to figure out how to squeeze another hour out of it?
It’s easy to care about what happens in this life because it’s all we know. Or is it? As a believer, you have the Holy Spirit. So you have a taste of heaven today. Right now you can sense the goodness of heavenly living.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
Do what is reasonable for each day to move your life forward. Leave the rest up to God (by praying and letting it go). If you find yourself panicking because of one thing or another, stop trying to be God: reduce what is on your plate. You weren’t meant to save the world. God sent Jesus for that!
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.