Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Breaking the Worry Habit

A.J. Cronin has written that our worries fall into these categories: 
Things that never happen – 40%
Things in the past that can’t be changed by all the worry in the world – 30%
Petty, miscellaneous worries – 19%
Health-related worries – 12%
Real, legitimate worries – 8%

Think of what you worried about this week.  What category did that worry fall into?  What was accomplished by your worrying?
 Jesus said “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27)

Worry can be described as “interest paid in advance on a debt you may never owe.”

“Worry is like a rocking chair.  It will give you something to do, but won’t get you anywhere.”

Scriptural teaching about worry: 
Matt. 6:25: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Matt. 6:34:  “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Phil. 4:6:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

1 Peter 5:7:  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 A Plan to Break the Worry Habit
1. Make a list of all the things that worry you.  Write them down.  Pray about them everyday.
2. Replace wrong thoughts with right ones.
3. Increase your sense of humor and laugh more.
4. Stay positive.  Talk to yourself with slogans that help you remember.  Such as:
  • “Just let it go.  It’s not the end of the world.”             
  • “I don’t have to like everyone; just love them.”
  • “What difference will this make in 24 hours?”
  • “I don’t have to win, just finish the race.”
5. Enjoy the little things in life.
6. Focus on the needs of others; get out of yourself.
7. Pursue your passion.  Find out what “good works” God put you here to do, and go for it.  (Ephesians 2:10)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How to Thrive -- Not Just Survive -- On Your Job

Here are some important principles to make you more than a survivor, regardless of how difficult your current work situation may be:

1.     Keep the right attitude
Your attitude is always your choice!  No matter what’s going on around you, you can keep a positive outlook if you choose to.  No one can force you to be negative!

Where would you rate your attitude for the past six months?

r  Mostly positive            
r  Half positive, half negative
r  Mostly negative

It helps to do an “attitude checkup” every week or so.

2.     Learn to "re-frame."
Re-framing is simply looking at difficult people or situations through a different lens!  Find some positive way to re-frame whatever is getting to you right now.  I had to learn to re-frame a boss many years ago, and discovered that I had focused so much on his negatives that I totally overlook his positive characteristics.  You’ll find something positive if you look long enough.

3.     Watch your self-talk!
What are your typical first words and/or thoughts each day?

r  Positive and affirming
r  Negative and complaining
r  “Prophesies of doom”

The words I say to myself about myself are usually:

r  Encouraging and uplifting
r  Critical and unkind
r  Harsh and unforgiving

Don’t bring yourself down with your own negative thoughts and words.

4.     Don't be intimidated by negative people!
Here are some ways to respond to negative people:
  • Tune out their negative talk.
  • Don't spend any more time with a really negative person than you have to.
  • Change the subject.
  • Ask for a solution.
  • Respond with positives.

5.     Remember what goes with your territory!
Every job has disagreeable aspects which are part of doing your job, such as complaining customers, computers that break down, software programs with glitches, etc.  Remember that you are paid to deal with these things, so think of them as job security!

6.     Count your blessings.
If you will make yourself stop in the middle of a bad day and start verbalizing all that you have to be thankful for, it will bring a dramatic change in your perspective.

7.     Remember that your day is won or lost in the morning hours!
Start your day on a positive note and it will make a difference all day long!

What could you do to have a better start to your day?

r  Get up earlier.
r  Have a more consistent morning time with the Lord.
r  Discipline myself to begin each day with a positive attitude.
r  Stop procrastinating – do the “stuff I don’t want to do” first and get it out of the way.
r  Leave home earlier to avoid the hectic commute.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Carefully Waiting for an Answer

Anyone who knows me knows that patience is not my long suit!  I don’t like to wait—for anything or anyone or any reason!  That tendency has often caused me to make hasty decisions and moves that were not the best.  The word that God gave me at the beginning of this year—the one word to focus on all year—was “careful.”  So, I’m continuing to learn to be careful, make slower decisions, be willing to wait until I know for sure that I’m following God’s leading.

Now, I’m learning that lesson anew as I have to wait for some medical reports that will tell me whether I have a significant medical issue or a short-term inconvenience.  As I was going through an MRI yesterday—where you have to lie perfectly still in this medical “tunnel” for 45 minutes—I prayed again that God would give me patience and courage as I face this unknown.

None of us make it through this sin-infected world without these kind of experiences of facing an unknown future.  I’m finding that my knowledge of the sovereignty of God is my anchor, my hope, my security.  Nothing that happens to me takes God by surprise, and I am hanging my hopes on that truth in a new way.

I have to tell you that the emotions are not cooperating.  I don’t like this and I’m not feeling victorious.  But my hope is not in my feelings, it is in my God, so I have to repeatedly refuse to allow the feelings of fear to take control of my thoughts. 

How thankful I am that for years I’ve grown in my knowledge of God’s love for me and his sovereignty in my life.  It is that knowledge of His truth that sets me free, in spite of my feelings.  We serve a great God, and as I’ve been reminding others lately, my identity is that “I am the one Jesus loves,” and he will never forsake me.