By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy ~Leo Buscaglia
What is worry? Worry is negative meditation. To meditate is to be occupied in thought, to ponder and reflect. So when we worry, our thoughts are occupied with things that cause us distress, fear, or dread. Worry puts stress on our minds and bodies. It can literally make us sick. Studies have found links between stress and illness. Stress weakens our immune system, making us more vulnerable to viruses and other illnesses. Worry clouds our perception. Decision-making is impaired. Clearly, our minds and bodies cannot function at their best when we worry.
Why do we worry? We worry because we do not have inner peace. We focus on what can go wrong instead of what can go right. We look at the problem and how things can get worse rather than the solution and how things can get better. We look at faults, mistakes, and failures instead of victories and successes. We fix our eyes on the mountain instead of seeing ourselves on the other side. We try to control what we can only accept instead of changing what is within our power—namely, our attitudes. We focus on ourselves instead of trusting God. We get to the end of the road, and are ready to quit. We travel down a long, dark path and don’t realize there is light at the end of the tunnel. We get weakened by the drought and lose our strength. We are in over our heads and think we will surely drown. Is it any wonder we stress ourselves out?
How do we stop worrying? The apostle Paul admonishes us to not worry about anything, but rather, to pray about everything. He said that we can bring all of our cares to God and He will give us peace. He will direct our paths. He will comfort us and help us. We are not only admonished to trust Him, but we are instructed to meditate on positive, hopeful things. How we occupy our minds affects our faith and attitude. When we focus on possibilities our hope increases, our faith is strengthened, and our worries fade. When we see ourselves as winners in life and overcomers of obstacles, our success is within reach. When we choose to focus on the good and not the bad, good comes our way. When we ask, we receive. When we seek, we find. When we knock, doors open for us.
I wrote a song called "What If" some time ago. Worry thoughts often begin with “What if…” In the song, I ask, “What if I trust You more? What if I leave it in Your hands? What would happen if I would, knowing that You’re always good. What if I trust You more? Then I would let doubt go. My life is in Your hands. You are the Great I am.” Since that time, I have had countless opportunities to ask in fear and worry, “What if…?” I am always reminded of these words. And I always remind myself that we can choose to believe for the best, not the worst. We can choose to believe things will work out, and that God will make a way when there seems to be no way. We choose to believe the promise that God is always with us. And when we leave it in His hands, we can know that things will work out because He is good.
Worry and stress are harmful to our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Negative meditation (worry) or positive meditation (prayer) can significantly impact our lives for the better or worse. We can practice either one, and it will become a habit. It is up to us. I encourage you to choose today to be free from worry and experience inner peace!
Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it. ~Brian Tracy