WINNING WITH THE WORD
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
“Winning with the Word” is a weekly blog that will help you to be a winner in life by applying God’s principles
for living the abundant life as found in the Bible, God’s manual for life.
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PODCAST: “YOU CAN CONQUER WORRY!”
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
Today we’re going to be exploring a very common problem, one that affects a lot of people in varying degrees. In every case, however, this problem ends up in some way hurting them and those close to them. What am I referring to? I am referring to the problem of worry.
Are you a worrier? Do you find yourself dreading the future, wondering what bad thing is going to happen next? Are you continually uptight about your finances, your health, your marriage, your children, your job?–to the point that you have a hard time relaxing and having fun? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, I have good news for you!
You can conquer worry!
We all know that with anything we wish to accomplish in life, we have to start with a desire to accomplish it. The same is true of conquering worry. You have to want to conquer worry before you can begin doing so. Now, you may be wondering: Who would not want to conquer worry? After all, worry robs us of peace and joy and keeps us in a constant state of inner turmoil.
You may be surprised to learn that there are many people who, deep down inside, do not really want to conquer worry. Strange as it may seem, worry has become for them a sort of status symbol, a sign of “responsibility.” In other words, these people feel important when they worry.
Or, for some people, worry is like an old shoe. They’ve grown comfortable with it and are reluctant to part with it. In fact, some people absolutely refuse to part with worry. It has become so much of a habit in their lives that they cannot imagine living without it. Still, other people hang on to worry because it is a means of drawing attention to themselves. They feel so insecure about themselves that they resort to unhealthful behavior patterns to affirm their worth. By worrying, they attract the attention of others and, in a sick way, that attention satisfies their need for affirmation.
All of the examples I’ve just given are obstacles that keep us from conquering worry. To achieve any level of success and freedom in life, we have to be willing to part with those things that are holding us back. In other words, we have to move out of our comfort zones–and I’m not saying this is easy to do–but it’s absolutely necessary if we are to grow. We have to push through the pain of growth, because on the other side of the pain, we will find freedom.
The same is no less true of conquering the worry habit. You have to want to conquer worry before you can conquer it.
Okay. Let’s assume that you truly want to conquer worry. What then? Well, the next step is to make a decision to conquer worry. You can have all the desire in the world to conquer worry, but unless you decide to do something about it, nothing will happen.
Let me give you a simple illustration. Most of us at some point in our lives have struggled with losing weight. For instance, after I had my second child, I weighed ten pounds more than I weighed before I became pregnant. For years, I kept saying, “I want to lose these ten pounds. I have to lose these ten pounds.” I kept expressing the desire to lose those ten pounds, but I never made the decision to lose them. Consequently, those ten pounds stayed around right where I didn’t want them. Every time I looked in the mirror, there they were, mockingly reminding me of their presence.
Would you believe this went on until my daughter was eighteen years old! Finally, at the end of those eighteen years, I said to myself not only that I wanted to lose those ten pounds, but also that I would lose them without fail. And surely enough, I lost those ten pounds. What made the difference? The difference was my quality decision to lose weight.
A man I highly respect once said that a quality decision is a decision from which there is absolutely no retreat. In other words, I decided to lose those ten pounds, and there was no turning back from my decision.
Conquering the worry habit–or any habit, for that matter–requires the same kind of unflinching determination. Without that kind of determination, you will cave in when the going gets tough.The good news, however, is that once you’ve made the decision to conquer worry, you have won half the battle.
The next thing you need to do is to recognize that worry is a learned habit. No one is born into this world a worrier. So, since you once learned the worry habit, you can unlearn it.
“Worry is a learned habit.”
When endeavoring to unlearn a bad habit, it also helps to determine the root cause of it. So let’s explore the root cause of worry. In this world, there are two basic forces at work: the life force of God, called “Faith” and the death force of Satan, called “Fear.” Worry is really a form of fear and, therefore, comes from Satan. It is not God’s will that you worry. God makes this very clear in the Bible, the operating manual He provided for us when He created us.
For instance, in John chapter 14, verse 27, God says, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Elsewhere, in Matthew 6, verse 34, He says, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.” These two statements are not suggestions; they are commands. And God’s commands are not to be taken lightly. To do so results in bad things happening.
Since God commands us not to worry, this means that we have the ability not to worry. You see, God never commands us to do something we are incapable of doing. If He did, He would be unjust, and God is not unjust. He is perfectly just.
Moreover, if we disobey God’s command not to worry, we become guilty of sin. Yes, worrying is a sin!
Now, before you get totally down on yourself, let me encourage you. Maybe you feel that no matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop worrying. You wish you could, but worry has a grip on you that you cannot seem to shake. What can you do?
Here are five steps that have helped me when I have been tempted to worry:
Step #1: Decide and determine that you are going to obey God’s command not to worry, no matter what the cost. Do you know that you can choose not to worry. Yes, you heard me right. You can choose not to worry. Sure, you may be thinking, that may be easy for you to say, but you don’t understand my situation. I just lost my job, and I have five mouths to feed. How can I not worry? Or, my husband just walked out on me and left me with two kids, and you expect me not to worry?
Let me say right upfront that I certainly empathize with you. I know what it feels like to face a seemingly impossible situation and be attacked with worry. I’ve been there, and it’s not a pleasant place to be. But I also know from personal experience that we can choose not to worry. You see, God created us with a free will. Our will is that part of us that makes decisions. With our will, we can decide not to worry, no matter how we feel. And this brings me to my next step for conquering worry.
Step #2: Do not give in to feelings of worry. Resist them! To give in to feelings of worry is to feed those feelings. To resist feelings of worry is to starve them. Worry is like a raging forest fire. The longer you let it go unchecked, the fiercer it grows. By the same token, when you resist feelings of worry, it’s like putting water on that fire. If you keep resisting feelings of worry, you will find that, eventually, the feelings of worry will be quenched.
Step #3: Realize that worry is a malfunction of the imagination. At any given moment, our imaginations are being controlled either by faith or by fear. When we worry, we allow fear to have the upper hand. This is the reason God instructs us to keep our minds filled with thoughts that build and inspire faith. In Philippians chapter 4, verse 8, He says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. And the God of peace will be with you.” Here, God is telling us that when we think good and right thoughts, we will experience His peace. And God’s peace includes the absence of worry.
Well, what are good and right thoughts? They are thoughts of hope, not thoughts of dread. Thoughts of faith, not thoughts of fear. Thoughts of trust in God’s protection, not thoughts of doubt about His protection. In short, good and right thoughts are those thoughts that line up with the Word of God. You see, what we think about affects our feelings. If you constantly think that the worst is about to happen, you will constantly worry. If, on the other hand, you continually think pleasant thoughts, you will continually be at peace.
Step #4: Realize that worry is not a sign of responsible behavior. Many people believe that if they do not worry, they are not acting responsibly. On the contrary, to worry is to act irresponsibly, for when we worry, we cannot think straight. Worry clouds logical thinking and results in poor decisions.
Step #5: Understand that you will never completely conquer worry in your own strength. You need God’s help. Happily, that help is always available. God tells us in Psalm 46, verses 1 and 2, that He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. God is eager to help you conquer worry completely. In fact, He has already made a way for you to do so. That way is His Son Jesus Christ. Only by receiving Christ into your life will you completely conquer worry and every other sin in your life. For when you receive Jesus Christ, you receive His power to overcome. And you receive the total restoration of your relationship with God the Father.
You see, Christianity is not a religion. It’s a personal relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus Christ can we have this relationship, for Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John chapter 14, verse 6).
So, if you’re tired of allowing worry to dominate your life–in fact, if you’re tired of allowing any other problem to dominate your life–turn to Jesus Christ today. He alone can set you free. And not only is He able to set you free, He is willing and eager to set you free. In no other name than the Name of Jesus Christ is there power to deliver you from bondage.
Perhaps you want to be free of alcoholism or drug addiction, or smoking, or a bad temper, or an addiction to pornography–whatever it is–Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ can set you free. Ask Him to do so right now. He has been patiently waiting for you to ask Him for His help. For some of you, He’s been waiting a very long time. Don’t let Him wait a moment longer. And don’t allow yourself to remain in bondage a moment longer. Join me now by repeating this simple prayer after me:
Lord Jesus, I come to You just as I am. I admit that I am a sinner in need of Your mercy and grace. I believe that You are the Son of God, that You died for me, and that You rose again on the third day. I invite You now to come into my life. I receive You as my personal Savior and as the Lord of my life. Make of me all that You created me to be. Amen.
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you are now a born-again Christ-Follower. I invite you to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to send you a little booklet that will help you get started in your Christian life. Also, I invite you to pray for Holy Spirit to lead you to the church of His choice for you, the place where you can serve God with your gifts and where you can be fed on His Word so that you may grow and become more and more like Jesus.
Finally, I invite you to visit my website at www.maryanndiorio.com
If you are in need of physical healing or prayer for any other need, please write to me as well and I will be happy to pray for you.
A wise person once said that “worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.” Don’t let worry empty your today of its strength. Instead, replace worry with trust in God. When you do, not only will all your todays be filled with peace, but so will all your tomorrows. Until next time, remember that God loves you just as you are and just where you are, and He will help you to keep on winning with the Word!
Now, it’s YOUR turn: What about you? Do you struggle with worry? What has helped you to overcome worry? Please share your comments in the Comments Box below. Thank you!
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PODCAST: “YOU CAN CONQUER WORRY!”
by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio
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