“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
~ Charles Spurgeon
Most of the teachings I’ve heard about overcoming worry were the equivalent of handing out umbrellas during a hurricane.
The New Testament encourages us to outsource our worry. (The word “outsource” means to delegate a task to someone else.)
Consider this text:
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you in due time. Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
~ 1 Peter 5:6-7
Peter instructs the Christians to whom he’s writing to cast their anxiety, their worry, and their care upon the Lord because He cares for them.
I will shamelessly admit that I’m a recovering worrier. Over the years, however, I discovered a way to overcome worry when it comes knocking on the door of my mind.
Here are three steps that will enable you to give worry an atomic knee drop:
1) Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.
This means, among other things, admitting to yourself that you’re a mere mortal who cannot control your circumstances. It means accepting that the unexplained twists and unfair turns of life are in God’s hands. It means believing that God has a good and positive purpose for allowing everything that comes your way, the good, the bad, and the unbearable.
In other words, Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
The act of recognizing that God is sovereign, that He’s in control, and that He has a purpose for everything that comes into your life demands humility. There’s a certain surrender involved that’s good for the mind and heart.
2) Cast your care upon the Lord.
“Care” in this passage means anxiety, worry, concern, or fear. “Cast” means to throw something upon another. The same verb is used in Luke 19:35 where the disciples toss (or cast) their cloaks over a donkey to make a saddle for Jesus.
The idea here is one of transference. To cast my anxiety, worry, and care upon the Lord means that I transfer, delegate, and outsource it to Him.
When you do this, the anxiety is no longer yours. You’ve handed the situation over to God, so it’s His worry now.
The basis for this outsourcing is His care for you. Because He cares, you don’t have to. You can live care-free.
On one level, you still care about the situation. But on a higher level, you no longer care because you’ve transferred your care over to God. For this reason, a worry-free person appears to not care. Consequently, there’s great liberty and freedom in outsourcing your worry to God.
To illustrate, suppose that you give your smart phone to a friend. Your friend puts his contacts and apps on the phone and begins using it.
The next day your spouse asks, “Where’s your phone?”
You answer, “I don’t have it. I gave it to my friend. It belongs to him. It’s his business now.”
The same dynamic occurs when you outsource your worry to God.
The worry is no longer yours. It’s His. So let God do the worrying. Remember, He cares for you, so He has a stake in the situation too.
3) Use a tangible symbol to remind yourself that you’ve outsourced your worry to God.
You can come up with your own symbol for this, but when I cast a specific care on the Lord, I tell the Lord what I want to see Him do in the situation (this is called petition). Then I throw the burden of it on His shoulders.
After that, I write down the situation using one word or (even one letter) on a 3 x 5 index card. As I’ve described in my new Prolific program, the act of writing clears space in our mind.
I then place the index card in a specific Bible that’s sitting on my bookshelf — a Bible that I only use for this exercise. I open the Bible to one of the Psalms (randomly) and place the card there. This symbolizes that I no longer own the worry.
It’s now God’s.
When the enemy tries to assault my mind with the worry, I simply call to mind the card that I inserted in the Psalms. God has it. The situation is in hands more capable than my own. The worry doesn’t belong to me anymore.
To be free from worry, you may want to do the same. You see, after you cast your worry on the Lord, you will be tempted to take it back and fret over it again. Especially when time passes and you see nothing happen with the situation.
That’s the time to remind yourself that you’ve outsourced the problem to God and it belongs to Him. To put it in the words of James:
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
~ James 4:7
A Critical Insight
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that having peace in my heart amid a turbulent or disconcerting situation is critically important to the Lord. And it’s critical for my spiritual, emotional, and physical well being.
The goal is to remain at peace in the face of conflict, opposition, and crisis. If you’re at peace, you have faith, and faith is what pleases God. It’s also what releases God’s action in the situation. Worrying produces damage to your spirit as well as to your soul and body.
As Jesus-followers, we don’t have to fret. Peace is part of our inheritance. For this reason, Paul told the Philippians,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
~ Philippians 4:6-7
Jesus also gave a lengthy discourse on why His followers have no need to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). He said, “don’t worry about your life … look at the birds and the lilies.” To a person who is in Christ, worry should be as impossible as it is for birds and flowers, both of which are incapable of anxiety.
Even in the Old Testament, we have the precursor to Peter’s instruction to cast our care upon the Lord:
“Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you”
~ Psalm 55:22
During His earthly life, Jesus was the most care-free person in the universe. He cast all His care upon His Father and lived worry-free.
Since the same Spirit that was in Christ is now in you, you can respond to the Lord in the same way, making God your Source. Remember, God the Father loves and cares for you just as much as He loves and cares for His Son, Jesus.
… So that the world may know that You (Father) sent Me, and loved them (My disciples), even as You have loved Me.
~ John 17:23
So take some time to deliberately cast your burden, your care, your anxiety, and your worry over to the Lord, knowing that He cares for you.
And when you’re tempted to take it back into your own hands, stand your ground and reaffirm that the care belongs to God and not to you.
In so doing, you will learn Christ as your Peace in times when it’s logical to worry.
What in this article did you find to be the most meaningful?
If you’ve found an additional strategy to defeat worry, what was it?