How do we worry less?

Credit: Paul Noth and "The New Yorker"

Credit: Paul Noth and “The New Yorker”

Jesus tells us, “your heavenly Father knows what you need . . . so do not worry about tomorrow.” How do we do that? Seriously, I’m asking – does anyone have some good techniques for shifting your mind from worry to faith in God’s love and care? I’d love to hear what works for you.

~ Jonathan Stepp

8 comments so far

  1. Natasha Oliver on

    Hello Mr. Jonathan Stepp. What works for me I pray for others before I pray myself. Somehow our Lord keep me out of my self center constantly. I was diagnosed with very early stage 0 breast cancer this year. I know it was Him touch me with breast cancer. Because day 1 He want me to praise Him ! 1st pray for my humankind who I love too. This is my lifestyle now I love our Triune God and I love people. I am still learning about worry less. I am come to this conclusion it is one day at a time with our Lord who have order our steps. I hope this help Pastor Jonathan Stepp. Reading Lord’s word very helpful too !!! I have seven different translations of Bible on my phone !!
    God bless you and your family

  2. Jonathan Stepp on

    I like that idea, Natasha, thanks for sharing it – I could definitely see how praying for others before myself would be of benefit to me in this process.

  3. John on

    Johnathan
    Thank you for your openness and frankness in asking the questions? I admit that I am in the same camp as you are. In fact I would venture to say that all humanity is also, whether they would say so or not. I am also like you and would like to hear from others!

    I believe on a personal note that God, who is love, is so other centred that as I think I am submitting to Him in His faith, to the way reality is truly structured,Jesus, that just as quickly I hide again in my own desiring darkness of certainty.

    I believe Father, Son and Holy Spirit do not think about themselves, all focus is on the other, and guess what? Myself and the rest of humanity are the other without intent of retribution,violence or any other thought of my (our) own human invention. It is not me thinking of techniques or a working method, just the submission of self daily to Galatians 2:20.

    These are my limited thoughts on God, who is bigger and better than I can imagine, so that my resting in His faith is my only certainty! This is a submission that will take a lifetime of constantly changing my mind!

  4. Giles on

    What a great and (for me at least) timely question. I am about to conclude a significant business transaction in the next week and I am very anxious about its successful completion.

    It occurs to me that I have used four methods to combat worry (not all of which I recommend or are effective).

    The first is apathy. I only worry about what I care about. Of course, since I care about my wife, children, and grandchildren, apathy isn’t always an option (or one that God would want me to have).

    The second is control. I tend not to worry about things that I control (or at least convince myself I control). I think this is where many of us default. We feel safest when we are in control and least safe when we are not. We work very hard to try to control all of our surroundings to ensure the desired result. Since we have very little control over tomorrow’s events, worry about tomorrow is natural.

    The third is past history. When I think honestly about it, I can’t remember a time in my life (60+ years) when anything I worried about ever happened, or if it did happen, was nearly as bad as I made it out to be. (So obviously worry is very effective in keeping away disaster :)) I have lived a very blessed life. Sadly, I have not given God sufficient credit for my blessings. I think genuine thankfulness can help overcome worry.

    The fourth is trust. When I can trust in someOne greater than myself for the uncertainties of life, I can find some peace, but I honestly find this very difficult. Unfortunately in the case of Jesus, this requires a ton of faith and a lot of positive imagination. By faith, we have to believe that Jesus in fact exists and is currently alive, having risen from the dead. I can intellectualize that to death, but never believe it in the experiential sense. Having faith in One we cannot see, hear or touch is difficult, which is why Jesus told Thomas that we are the more blessed when we believe without seeing. Paul says we walk by faith, not by sight. So, I need constant reminders that the Jesus I read about academically and argue about theologically is present with me right now in grace and truth. I also need constant reminders that this Jesus really loves me and cares for my well being. This requires the application of some sanctified imagination. Let’s face it, what we feel about Jesus (as opposed to what we think) is governed greatly by our imagination, what we imagine him to be like. If I imagine Jesus to be constantly angry with me for my latest sin, then I will worry about what his next discipline might look like and wait in anxiety for “the other shoe to drop” (which it never has). In such a case, I worry about my future because I doubt his love and grace. But, if I define myself as one beloved by Abba (see Brennan Manning’s “Abba’s Child”) then I can build up a faith-informed imagination to believe that God, in Christ, is with me right now and, rather than being angry with me, loves me tenderly. That helps a lot. I know the future will be well even if “well” isn’t necessarily defined as I would define it. This is where my future becomes absorbed into Jesus himself.

    I also agree with the writers that focusing on others in love is very helpful. Anxiety and depression are self-absorbed, Love is not and it is in loving others that I become like Jesus.

    Sorry for the rambling response. I write not from victory but from my own ongoing battle with worry and anxiety.

    • Jonathan Stepp on

      Thanks, Giles, I really appreciate you sharing the wisdom you’ve gained in 60+ years. Trusting that God will give us a good future, even if it isn’t necessarily defined as I would define it, is a very helpful perspective.

  5. John on

    Wanted to add this, just listened to it by John Crowder. He explains it well!

    • Giles on

      Thanks for sharing this video. For the first year of my walk with Christ, I obsessed in agony over whether or not I was “truly saved.” I kept trying to analyze my faith to see if it was enough to be “saving faith.” After a year in agony, it occurred to me that I was trying to place faith in my faith to save me; I had turned my self-generated faith into another filthy rag of works. I realized that I wasn’t saved by my faith, but by Jesus, and by saying that, I was expressing my faith in Jesus. I appreciate the reinforcement.


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