Do you know that the most dangerous of all feelings is worry? Worry is a dangerous emotion because it sends off signals in your brain to keep you safe even when you’re not in any kind of danger which means your brain is signaling your body to release adrenaline and cortisol when it is not needed. When your body has not quick way of disposing of these incredibly energy producing chemicals, such as through flight or fight, they wreak havoc on your body, mind and spirit.
Worry is the opposite of faith and casting all of your fears on God. But many of us don’t even realize we are worried until we are well on the well worn path of dread and we are experiencing physical symptoms of our anxiety. Our minds and bodies need a rest from all of the anxious thoughts, we need the “peace that surpasses understanding” (Phil 4) and to live “in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory” (Romans 5).
Of all of the things in life that can get in the way of living free and happy, worry is the most disruptive. When we are worried we lack confidence, we have trouble planning and executing the goals we’ve set, we procrastinate, we isolate and we feel alone. Yet, the truth is, even in our worry God is with us…even in the most fretful moment of life God is there. Which is precisely why He tells us not to worry…because He is with us.
We are hardwired to for safety and since we’ve all had experiences in the past that set off the safety neuro networks our brain remembers that and wants to avoid it in the future…(thank your brain for all of the ways it’s kept you safe…gratitude is always a cure for worry). Fortunately, God has given us a brain big enough to be able to turn off these pathways and experience joy.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough hard things in real life that I don’t care to experience them in the present real time. Enough is enough! Worry is a negative thought, memory or feeling we have pulled up from the past and projected it onto the future. No wonder God tells us not to worry. He has taken care of the past and the future is in His hands.
We can turn these pathways off in several ways…but the first always involves recognizing worry within, you can’t turn off something if you don’t know it’s on. We don’t have to figure it all out we just need to be able to recognize worry so we can deal with it. Once we see it, we can ask God for some help and thank Him that we don’t have to do it alone. You’ve already done three steps now (1. Recognize 2. Ask 3. Thank ) you’re on your way! You can do this!
One of the best ways to disrupt worry is to take 5 minutes and write down everything you can think of that worries you, and I mean everything. It is helpful to set aside 5 minutes everyday just to worry. Ask God to show you the stuff your worried about, and anything else that comes to mind, make silly stuff up if you have to it helps your brain get to the real stuff. Once you’ve done that take a big stretch and yawn, it helps to release relaxation chemicals. Now ask God to hold your hand and go over the list with you and help you let go of the things you can’t control and ask Him if there is anything on the list you actually need to be concerned about and if there is make a plan to solve it. In other words turn your real worries into a problem to be solved and give all the rest to God.
When we turn the real things in our lives that need attention into a problem to be solved it alleviates the worry and gives you an action plan to follow.
So our worry can be boiled down to two things a problem to be solved or a negative thought, memory or feeling we have pulled up from the past and projected it onto the future. No wonder God tells us not to worry. He has taken care of the past and the future is in His hands.
Try this exercise and let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you!