Bless Your Family With Worry-Free Living

I don’t know about you, but I can let excessive worries run away with me. In fact, I have to work at keeping those nasty worries at bay so they don’t interfere with my marriage, my family, and my life. If you’re not sure if worries interfere with your family life, read Worry Killed the Family…you might be surprised. In the meantime, here are six ways to replace worry with peace, anxiety with joy, and apprehension with intimacy.
     1.      Write 5-7 quotes, scriptures or sayings related to worry on notecards. Carry those notecards with you and read them several times throughout the day. You could read them when you wake up, after breakfast, during a midmorning break, during lunch, during a midafternoon break, after dinner and before bed. If you want the extra benefit of this exercise, invest the effort to memorize these sayings. Each time you begin to worry, repeat one of the sayings in your mind. If you have trouble coming up with quotes or sayings, here are a few:
     o    Be anxious for nothing but with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving make your requests known unto God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus (Paul–Philippians 4:6-7).

o    In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double, don’t worry, be happy (Bobby McFerrin).

o    Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (Peter–1 Peter 5:6-7).

o    Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength-carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength (Corrie ten Boom).

o    Worry is most often a prideful way of thinking that you have more control over life and its circumstances than you actually do (June Hunt).

2.      Realize the difference between simple concerns that that lead to action and excessive worry that consumes your time and your life. If you have a concern about something fixable, fix it. If it is not fixable, there is no benefit to worrying either. So, make a decision. Is your worry fixable? Then get to work. Invest the time and energy to address the problem.

3.      Practice gratitude. Every day think of three to five things for which you are grateful. Invest some time to think of new things to be grateful for every day. Write your thanks in a “gratitude journal” by keeping a simple list of thanks in a notebook. After a month, you will have a list of ninety to one hundred fifty things for which you are grateful. When you start to worry, take a moment and review your list.

4.      Recall incidents in which circumstances worked out without worry…or in spite of worry. Write these incidents down in your “gratitude journal” to create a memory bank section. If you cannot think of any times like this, take a risk and act in spite of your worry. Enjoy the outcome and write that incident in your memory bank.

5.      Acknowledge the voice in your head…the one that coaches you to worry. That worried internal voice that tells you how you “should” do things; that creates a mountain out of a mole hill by adding “what if’s” galore; that grows worry with absolutes such as “always,” “never,” “every,” and “no one.” Replace that coach with new coach that points out simple areas of improvement. Make sure the new internal coach will voice acceptance of your efforts as well as acknowledging and encouraging your progress.

6.      Finally, enlist the help of your family. Let them act as a voice of reason for you at times. Let them remind you that the “always” is really a “sometimes” and the “should” is really a “want” and a “choice.”

That gives you six ways to begin to address your worries. Really, the motivation to stop worrying is not simply to stop worrying. No, the motivation is to create peace and joy in your life, more intimacy in your family, and greater celebration with your family. So don’t worry, be happy. Sing along now…don’t worry, be happy!

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