Seven simple strategies that remind me to trust God
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I’m a first-class worrier! Ask me how I’m going, and I can prattle off a long list of problems I’m facing, the challenges I’m tackling, how busy I am, tired I am, overwhelmed I am… Poor me, poor me.
I was having one of my ‘I can’t cope with this; the world is falling apart; how will I survive' moments, when a very wise and loving friend offered to pray for me. At the end of the prayer, she said that God had given her a word for me. “The storm is in my head; everything is really fine; I am all worked up over nothing.”
I’ve been worrying again.
It was a light bulb moment. I realised then and there the devil had tricked me into a cycle of worry that had not only stolen my joy but had stolen my productivity, my capacity and my faith.
My attitude changed straight away, and while I still fight a battle with the worry monster, I’m making progress with these simple disciplines that remind me to trust God.
1. Be grateful
I’ve been counting my blessings, listing out all of the wonderful things in my life; people who love me, my health, my friends, the opportunities that I have. There is so much to thank God for happening in my life right now.
Do you have a gratitude journal? It can be a fancy, purpose designed journal, a simple notebook, or a sticky note in a place you will see it often. Take a moment every single day to be grateful, thank God for your blessings and appreciate the good things in your life.
God has always been faithful. He has proved it, time and time and time again. He has always come through in the past, and so I can trust Him with my present and my future. I have to take time to remember the past, what I have achieved, how God has provided and helped me through. God has not changed, and He will continue to do good work.
I love reading old journals, remembering things that happened to me years ago. I'm good at forgetting. When I read about past experiences, or look through old photo albums, I remember what I've been through, and how God came through in unexpected ways. He is good, and His timing is always perfect.
3. Control my thoughts
Paul reminds us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). I can easily let my thoughts run away with wild catastrophes, worst case scenarios and rehearsed arguments. All the feelings of hurt, grief, fear and pain become very real and overwhelming. But they are only thoughts. They are not real; they have no power apart from the power I give them.
It takes discipline to take captive every thought. It can be hard work, but it does get easier over time, and it is the single most potent tool in the fight against worry. When the doubts and fears fill my thoughts, I put them safely back into their box, and meditate on God’s truth instead.
4. Trust my foundation
The foundation of faith underpinning my life has an enormous impact. It changes everything. It is true. It is sure, and I can trust that it will not move or crumble.
I'm saved. The penalty for my sin and shame has been paid for by the sacrifice of Jesus. My salvation is secure, for now, and all of eternity. There is nothing that I can do to change the way God loves me. I have nothing to earn, nothing to prove, nothing to pay.
My identity as a child of God is secure. I have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe, he knows my name, he cares about me, and he is always with me. He has chosen me, adopted me as His child, and has an inheritance prepared for me. I have no reason to be afraid.
When my heart reminds me of these truths, worry seems silly.
5. Expect miracles
Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in the power of God? God can do things that are impossible. There is no reasonable explanation. God makes things happen that are beyond our capacity, beyond our understanding, and beyond our common sense.
God has been challenging me, instead of printing out a big sign that clearly labels my challenge ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ and curling up in a ball of failure and defeat, I pray for a miracle and stretch my faith to believe the impossible can become a reality.
So many verses challenge us to pray for the impossible, and yet this is not our first reaction to mountains that stand in our way. We exhaust ourselves with climbing, or digging, or complaining. I’m determined to start praying and believing.
6. Chase wisdom
I’ve heard two great sermons about wisdom recently, and now it seems like whatever I’m reading there is something about wisdom that captures my attention. Listen to the voice of wisdom. Make wise choices.
It’s amazing that in difficult seasons the simplest wisdom seems to go out the window. We lose our common sense when we need it most. Eat well, sleep well, get some exercise, laugh, love. Do the things that fill you up, make you feel good and give you the resources you need to get through. Make wise choices about what you read, what you watch, who you spend time with and what you do with your discretionary time.
7. Be patient
Persevere through the challenge. Hang in there and don’t give up. The Bible has a lot to say about persevering through suffering. It is there, in the hard place, that we learn the character of God is true, his promises are trustworthy, and we grow resilient and strong. Don’t just pray for the challenge to be over; pray for the lesson to be learned well. Know that God is with you and trust Him in the waiting.
Are you a worrier? Do you get caught up focusing on the struggle instead of focusing on God? I hope these strategies have been a challenge and an encouragement to you.
Would you love some reminders over the next seven days to put these strategies into practice in your everyday life? I’ve put together a simple seven-day reminder, a short email that has some more scriptures and journaling prompts to help you conquer worry, once and for all.