I have a friend who calls me in the evenings and talks ’til about 11:30 PM each night. She is a worrier and I keep telling her it is wrong to worry about everything. When I have a problem, I just talk to God about it and then place it in His hands and let Him take care of it. I tell her this but she cannot do this. What can I do to help her understand?
How interesting that I wrote the Fresh Grounded Thought for this month before reading this question. I don’t want to beat the “worry” question into the ground, but here’s one thought about what you can do. Maybe your friend could benefit from some very concrete action with her worry.
Here’s what I mean: Worry is so abstract. Taking what is abstract and making it concrete can really help. Your friend could write down each worry on a separate piece of paper. Then you could go through each paper with her and do 2 things:
1) Mark on each paper if the worry is based on fact or feeling. Is it based on truth or conjecture? If it’s true, then you place it in her Bible near a verse that has an applicable promise. Once it’s in the pages of the Bible, it’s out of her sight and buried in the truth and presence of Christ. Tell her she can only worry about what she holds in her hand. If it’s hidden in the Bible, she can’t easily take it out and worry without being reminded of God’s promises and comfort.
2) If what she wrote on her paper is based on feelings rather than truth–if it’s speculative or false–the paper, and thus, the worry, must be thrown away. We don’t focus on that which isn’t true. (Phil. 4:8) When that paper is thrown away, she can’t get it out of the trash to hold in her hand again. Remember, she can only worry about what is written on the paper if she holds it in her hand.
It’s embarrassing to rummage through the trash to pull out a lie to worry about! But that’s just what we do in a figurative sense, when we focus on those things that aren’t true or are out of our control.
If she must revisit her concern that is based on truth, then she can find it tucked away in the Bible, and when she goes to focus on the worry, she can’t help but see the truth of God’s promise right next to it.
Maybe this simple, silly exercise will help. (I have done this in the past just to make it clear where my worry belongs, and it’s helped me!) It’s also interesting to note when you hold your worry in your hand, you can’t hold anything else at the same time…hmmm!
Your friend, Jennifer
How would you encourage your friend in a similar situation? Leave a comment here.