Winning Over Worry
Second: If the problem is repressed, pent-up feelings, such as resentment, hurt or anger, those feelings need to be expressed in healthy ways. If you're nursing a grudge, you will need to put things right with the other person concerned and forgive them.4 Some feelings can be talked out with a trusted friend or counselor. Or, if it helps, go for a drive in your car with the windows closed and shout your feelings out, go to the bedroom and cry them out, or write them out as David often did in the Psalms.
One night when I was worried and couldn't sleep, I got up and typed a letter to God sharing all my feelings with him. Within a half-hour I had released my pent-up feelings. I then read them back to God, tore up the page, went back to bed, and fell asleep immediately.
Good, hard physical exercise is also helpful when you're feeling worried or anxious.
Third: If your worry is caused by unmet emotional or spiritual needs, you can remedy this by growing in your relationship to God and other peopleóboth of which are keys to vital, worry-free living. A spiritual growth group or a good twelve-step recovery group can be a big help for this. As you open up to others and to God and feel their love and acceptance, you can slowly change feelings of fear, guilt, anger, inadequacy, anxiety, and worry for feelings of hope, confidence, peace, and love.
Perfect love drives out fear.
"Perfect love drives out fear,"5 writes the Apostle John in the Bible. So we need to ask God not only to help us overcome our fears, but also to fill us with love. The more we love and trust God, the less we fear man and circumstances.
Every day, visualize yourself opening to God and being filled with his love, joy and forgiveness. In 1929, business tycoon J.C. Penny was in the hospital because of his severe anxiety. One night he was sure he was going to die so he wrote farewell letters to his wife and son.
But he survived the night, and hearing singing the next morning in the chapel, felt drawn to go in. A group was singing, "God will take care of you," after which followed Bible reading and prayer.
Penny said, "Suddenly something happened. I can't explain it. It was a miracle. I felt as if I had been instantly lifted out of the darkness of a dungeon into warm brilliant sunlight. I felt as if I had been transported from hell to paradise. I felt the power of God as I had never felt it before.
"I realized then that I alone was responsible for all my troubles. I knew that God with his love was there to help me. From that day to this, my life has been free from worry. The most dramatic and glorious minutes of my life were those I spent in that chapel that morning."6
The cause or causes of our anxiety and worry always lie within ourselves. At best they are triggered by outside circumstances. Only when we admit to and resolve these causes, are we free to fully surrender our worries and anxieties to God and experience his peace.
Whether this peace comes instantly or over a period of time doesnít matter. The important truth to remember is that God is always there. His love and power are constant and available to all. As we reach out to him through the fog of our worry and damaged emotions, we discover that he is waiting to help us if only we will respond to his love and give him the chance.
1. Proverbs 14:30.
2. Matthew 6:25,34.
3. Philippians 4:6-7.
4. See Matthew 5:23-24.
5. 1 John 4:18.
6. S.I.McMillen, None of These Diseases, (Westwood, N.J.: Fleming Revell Co., 1963), p.98.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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