Finding God: Turn Worry into Prayer

Who wants to be a worry-wart, anyway?  Here’s how to turn worry into prayer.

 

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Based on excerpts from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate: Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries (2013, Barbour Publishing). Link to purchase:

By Debora M. Coty:

I’ve spent decades honing my worry skills into a fine-tuned machine. I can whip pesky irritants into frothy, acetic colon-coaters faster than any juicer on the market.

Not good.

Worry is a type of fear that doesn’t seem like fear at all because it masquerades as taking responsibility. We can fool ourselves into thinking we’re putting on our big girl panties and doing the grown up thing by agonizing over dilemmas. And we just know that if we don’t keep hocking up our agitations like a cow regurgitating her cud, our lives will fall apart.

By worrying, we’re desperately trying to maintain control. We keep our manicured fingernails clutching onto every shred of our lives because underneath it all, we’re afraid to relinquish complete control to the Lord. Things, after all, might not turn out the way we want them to.

But there’s good news. Worry is a learned habit. And since it’s learned, it can be unlearned.

How? We have to train our brains to react to difficulties in a different way. A calmer, healthier way. Here are 4 simple anti-worrywart tools that can help you defroth.

Postpone worry. Set aside fifteen minutes a day as your designated worry time. Then, whenever a niggling fret worms into your brain jot it down in a “worry pad.”  Now you can stop wasting precious living time dwelling on it.

Morph worry into prayer. When you do get to that designated worry time, rather than chewing gristle that won’t ever digest, turn each problem into a prayer. Fretting is not productive. Prayer is. Prayer is the nerve that innervates the muscles in the hand of God.

“Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything” (Phil 4:6, NLT).

Rest in The Word. Another great worry-buster for restless nights when you’re more uptight than a twisted thong. Reflecting on a favorite scripture is a wonderful way to bring peace and relaxation to your soul. Choose a verse, say it aloud, then roll it through your mind until you can think of nothing else, like Matthew 11:29 (NIV):

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Exercise intentional gratitude. Anxiety is often the result of counting everyone else’s blessings but your own. Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to most of us (why is it so much easier to grouse?) … it’s truly an exercise, requiring no less discipline than pumping iron at the gym. An excellent tool is the Hand Exercise: Don’t allow yourself to entertain one worry before you count off with the fingers of one hand five things for which to be thankful. As you physically recount your blessings, end with an open hand in a gesture of release to Papa God. Before you know it, your perspective will be more positive.

Worry isn’t part of the Jesus download, girlfriend. So let’s unplug our internal juicers and break out the Preparation P (Prayer) to dissolve those worrywarts.

Bio: Debora M. Coty is humorist, popular speaker, and award-winning author of over 150 articles and 13 inspirational books. Visit Deb online at www.DeboraCoty.com, befriend on FB (Debora M. Coty, author), and follow on Twitter @deboracoty.

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Finding God in Crazy-making Mothering Moments

By Karen O’Connor:

Ever experience crazy-making mothering moments? Seeking and finding God in those moments helps.

 

Image: stockimages / FreeDigitalphotos.net


stockimages / FreeDigitalphotos.net

 

I sagged my full weight against the dining room wall and slid to the floor in a dramatic display of frustration. Defeated by my seven-year-old son!

My husband followed, extending a hand to help me to my feet. “Are you going to let that little pipsqueak steal your power?” He tried to hide the smile that curled his lips, but he didn’t succeed. He broke out laughing. I did too. Suddenly the entire episode seemed absurd. I got up, brushed off my wounded ego, and started again.

That scene occurred over thirty years ago but I remember it as though it happened an hour ago. Why? Because I learned from it. I learned to find God in the crazy-making moments of being a mom.

My child had not defeated me. He was just being a kid in a cranky mood who wanted his way when he wanted it. What else is new? I had given up because I was tired, overworked, and stressed. Parenting in that moment felt like the biggest challenge of my life.

NEEDED: A LITTLE ME TIME

Since then I have discovered ways to take care of myself so I will have the resources I need to be there for my kids and others. My children are grown now, but they have children of their own and I spend a lot of time with them. Today I know what I didn’t know then and I put it into practice. I can now say, “Maybe another time,” or “Not today, but please ask again,” or “I’m taking a day for myself” or any other sentence that communicates a boundary around my time and energy that I hope is loving and understandable and good for both sides. And then I actually do something wonderful for myself such as taking a walk, reading a book, or knitting a few rows on a hat or scarf.

I also maintain a little patch of ground I call “Karen’s Prayer Garden” in my backyard. (See related article with photo.) I have a climbing rose bush, blooming ground cover, a birdbath, and flowering bushes. Overlooking the garden is a small ice cream-style table and two chairs. There I sit and write in my journal, read, pray or simply stare! After spending some of my time in these pleasing ways, I have plenty of renewed energy for my husband, family, and friends.

Why not jot down a few ways that you can take care of yourself—even as you take care of your family. While doing so, you’ll not only be finding God in the crazy-making moments of being a mom but you’ll be leading your children toward a more joyful and peaceful life too.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6 the Bible)

Enjoy Paula Spencer’s humorous and insightful article in Parenting magazine on what no one tells you about motherhood: 8 Things No One Tells You About Being a Mom.

Here’s a helpful You Tube video on being a calm Christian parent as you are seeking then finding God in your relationship with your child.

       

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor

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Finding God Despite Moving Stress

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

When relocating, moving stress is inevitable, but finding God with you in the midst of it does help.

 

 Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving from one state to another can get a little crazy, as it has been for me the past few months.  Fixing, selling, and packing up a house on one end. Living out of suitcases in a not-so-homey temporary apartment while searching for a new home.

Of course to have any of these moving problems is a blessing in itself. So many people do not have homes, so for me to whine about moving stress when I do have places to rest my head and call my own may seem superfluous to them.

Yet if you are one who has been on the same journey as me, it’s important to recognize that moving stress is natural, even if a move is for a good reason and you love where you are moving to.  It’s also critical for us to remember that when we have asked Jesus Christ into our lives, he is alongside us through our entire journey.

At so many junctures it is easy to forget that.

There are a hundred billion little decisions to make and a to-do list that doesn’t seem to end. Just when I thought our home we were selling was just right, after fixing dozens of little things from updating electric outlets to crumbling window frames, an inspector found a bat had snuck into our garage attic.

A BAT?! What a mess and expense to clean up that was. Ugh.

There were plenty of opportunities to freak out, worry, become discouraged, and snap at my teen. Plenty of times my head was so full of lists I could not see needs in others around me unless I deliberately stopped and changed my focus. Times I had to choose to not obsess over small somethings for the sake of big relationships.

When we were attempting to sell our home,  my daughter was doing a chore for me and left some of the project undone.  It would have been easy to comment on that.

But as I tried to remain focused on God and keep things in perspective, He nudged me.

Told me to ignore it.

Reminded me a buyer would really not care about that. Reminded me that my daughter was under as much stress as I was, that she needed to be loved on and appreciated, not nagged. Reminded me of what a terrific help she had been to me, as my husband had to go ahead of us to his new job. I thanked God for my daughter’s helpful and sweet attitude, even when I myself  had left things undone or forgotten things important to her.

But that was an easy attitude check, compared to one I had to make when we realized we had to sell our home at a loss.  That took a VERY deliberate change of perspective.

I had added up all we had spent on that home, including our new roof, property taxes for eight years, repairs–including bat cleanup–and our mortgage payments. Divided by the years and months we’d lived there. And realized that it was as if we had rented the entire time, although we had tried so hard to get ahead.

But then I looked out the window. I looked around me. I thanked God that we had been able to live in a lovely home instead of a run-down apartment, or worse yet, on the street. I thanked the Lord for the neighbors we had enjoyed, not just people but neighborhood deer, foxes and owls. I thanked Him for the view out our windows that I had loved every day.

And instead of frettting, I was at peace. Instead of feeling outrage, I felt gratefulness.

I praised God for all I had been given, instead of agonizing over what I thought I had lost.  And after the movers had taken away all our possesions,  we’d driven to our new state, then settled into our temporary place, we looked forward to a new adventure: with God in it.

Have you moved recently? What was one stressful thing about it you experienced, and how did God help you through that? Tell us in a comment–your experience may also help others. 

© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie edits Finding God Daily, and is a multi-book author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com.  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent

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