Dr. Swisher, How Do I Stop Worrying?   Dean, Defiance, Ohio  

Hello Dean. Thank you for this question and the opportunity to address an issue that many people seem to be facing.  Worry is defined as a feeling of anxiety or nervousness or as something that causes one to feel uneasy or to have a troubled state of mind.  

When confronted with a problem or issue that seems daunting, people tend to either run away or shut down emotionally. Two extremes on the pendulum of coping with challenging feelings perceived or actual. Whenever we have a question such as this it is good to start with inquiring what does the Bible say about the subject. We find great guidance in Philippians 4: 6-7; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There it is, Dean. The basic formula for overcoming worrisome thoughts. Why does this work?  Because God changes lives…. He doesn’t merely improve them.  

In order to get our thinking clear and our beliefs in line with God’s will for our lives we must realize that we have a choice. We are not victims of our emotions or our feelings or even someone else’s opinions. We can choose what we think, how we think and construct the way that plays out in our daily living.   

Here are a few additional tips to help:  

  1. Stop waiting for the world to help you While its true others can help us. The first step is to realize we can choose to help ourselves by connecting to God.   Situational changes can be fine but they don’t address the deeper issues we may be facing.   Jesus put it this way, “My peace I give to you, My peace I leave with you, not as the world gives give I to you.  Don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).  
  2. Get your thoughts under control  Our thoughts can be a benefit or a burden. We can get our thoughts under control by exercising spiritual muscle.  It is possible to decrease our fear and worry by choosing to focus our minds on the positive things God puts in our lives. “Think about what is good and lovely and of good report.  Focus your minds on what is true, and honorable, right and pure. And the God who gives you peace will be with you” (Philippians 4: 8-9).  
  3. Deal with distress immediately We all have encountered challenges that are difficult beyond what we experience on a day to day basis. The Bible refers to these as storms, and sometimes they push us to the limits in terms of what we can handle physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It’s during these times when we should turn to God in a serious and earnest way. “Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress and He answered me.  He freed me from all my fears”  (Psalm 34:4).  

Ultimately its harder for worry, stress and anxiety to overcome us when we are helping others. In fact, a recent national study expressed that people who volunteer and help others are 42% more likely to be happy and at ease than those who do not. If focusing on our past and worrying about our present is a virus then focusing on God and helping others is the vaccine. We invite you to hear more about this concept in any of our 5 Worship services this weekend. We welcome you and all of our readers to be our very special guests.