During this unprecedented time of stress and concern, we need to be intentional about our thought lives. So many of us struggle with worried thoughts. This is easy to do in times of uncertainty and loss of control. But during challenging times, we want to live in God’s peace no matter the circumstances. Thus, we need a prescription for letting go of those worried thoughts:
- First, identify the thought behind the worried or anxious feeling. Ask yourself, What am I thinking? What is my self-talk? Are those thoughts what we call catastrophic thoughts? “What if….How will I…. What will I do if…” These worried and catastrophic thoughts will prompt more anxiety. Identify them.
- Let those worried thoughts come. Don’t try to suppress them with thoughts like, “Stop worrying” “Don’t think this,” etc. The more you try not to worry, the more you will worry. It’s like dieting. The more you try not to think about food, the more you do think about food. So like a wave on the ocean, let the thought come.
- Next, look at the thought and decide if it is true.Do this by judging it against God’s Word and rational thought. For example, “I will never get a job or dig out of finances.” Think, is God on my side? Is He for me? Will He help me when I do all I can and there is nothing more to do? Does He promise to provide for my needs? Is there anything to indicate that when the economy turns around, I won’t get a job? Is this a season in my life that will pass? Basically, examine your thoughts and look for truth.
- Now, replace the thought with the truth of God’s Word. Take that more positive, rational thought and think on that. Literally, change your thought. You have power to do this. You control the thoughts you dwell on and choose to think about. This means you can change those thoughts.
- Trust God to be who He says He is, and do what He says He will do. At the core of all worry is doubt. It is what prompts worry. Trust is the opposite of doubt. Trust in God and in trustworthy people is what calms fear. We can trust God.
Jesus would not command us to give up worry if it wasn’t possible for us to do so. His prescription is to take those worried thoughts captive and replace them with the truth about His character and love for us. We need to confine those worried thoughts and not allow them to wander into the waters of anxiety. Once confined, we can think on good things.
This doesn’t mean you hide your head in the sand during trying times. Rather that you acknowledge concern and exercise trust to combat doubt. When you do this, it also helps you stay positive knowing God will turn the situation around to work in your favor.
In this season of fear and uncertainty, be a model of letting go of worried thoughts for others. Show them how it is possible to control worried thoughts and live in God’s peace.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” –Philippians 4:8-9Let go of worried thoughts