May 6 Get REal

Get Real: Overcoming Worry

Worry consumes, depletes, distracts and defeats. Worry robs our joy. But, we all do it. So how do we overcome the worry and fear that seems to paralyze us? Last week we looked at some of the root causes of worry. Worry is sin. It is unbelief and a lack of trust and confidence in God. Worry is reliance upon self, instead of trusting the Almighty, all-sufficient, all-powerful God, Creator and Sustainer of all things! Today let's look at some practical steps we can take to replace our spirit of worry and find some freedom and peace.

"Worry flows out of a distorted or incomplete view of God's nature and character."  (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

Let's remind ourselves of the biblical definition for worry and then look at 1 Peter 5:5-7 for some practical ways we can overcome worry and release ourselves from its bondage and stranglehold:

Anxiety - "merimna"-to be drawn in different directions; to be thoughtful, anxiety about things pertaining to this earthly life.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7

With this passage in mind, I want to share with you some practical ways you can begin to defeat that spirit of worry that is consuming your life and energies.  I tend to be a worrier, but over the years I've seen God do some amazing work in my life in this area.  These practical steps have been instrumental in helping me.  I hope they encourage you.

Worry can so quickly consume and paralyze us, it's like a fire in my life at times.  It blazes out of control very quickly and so, like we all learned in elementary school, I find I need to stop, drop and roll to put it out.  Well sort of...just go with me on this one.

1. STOP: Tell yourself to STOP!

Stop the distraction that is dividing and disrupting your thought life. When in worry mode, we need to mentally and verbally tell ourselves to STOP. I find it helpful to just tell myself to "Stop It!"and I often do that aloud!

Don't let yourself continue down the spiral. Recognize you are trusting in the flesh/self instead of God. You have elevated your thoughts to a god-like position, trusting in your own strength and abilities. We've got to stop that worry cycle from continuing its downward tailspin. If we don't, it becomes a vortex that sucks us down and paralyzes us. It consumes and depletes our energy and strength. It can make us fearful and anxious over future events that may or may not ever happen.  I call these "vain imaginings" (and most of mine, never come to pass!)  Worry consumes and depletes our energy and strength.  Worry robs us of joy. So let's STOP IT!

2. DROP: Pray! Acknowledge and confess your worry as sin.

1 Peter 5:6 tells us to humble ourselves under God's might hand.

Humble - tapeinoō - to make low; to lower or depress; of one's soul, bring down one's pride, to have a modest opinion of one's self, to behave in an unassuming manner, devoid of all haughtiness.

In humility, we drop to our knees (literally or figuratively), we acknowledge and confess before God that this anxious thought that is consuming us is sin. When we humble ourselves, we assume a posture of surrender. We are no longer trying to control things. We are willing to lower ourselves to a position where we accept God's sovereignty in our lives and trust in His strength, rather than relying on our own. Knowing that He is for us and that He is working to conform us more each day to the image of Christ Jesus.

Humbling ourselves before God will in turn shift our focus, which is exactly what we need! We need focus our gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

3. THROW: Release the worry. Throw it off. Cast it aside.

1 Peter 5:5 tells us to cast our cares upon him, for he cares for us.

Cast - epiripto- to throw upon, place upon, to give up to.

When that worrying thought assails us, we need to throw it off and give it up to God. This is the time we need to rehearse God's attributes. Remind yourself of who God is. Then, renew your mind with truth. Cast off worry and replace it with the truth of who God is and what He has done. It's helpful to think the worry through, in a productive manner, by asking some questions:

  • Is this something I can control or do something about? If so, then what can I do?
  • Is this something out of my control?  If so, then release it into God's hands and rest in His provision and protection.
  • Is this something out of my control, but a situation in which God is calling me to pray for someone and release them into His care?
  • What does this worry reveal about my heart?  Is this an area where I am not trusting or relying upon God? 
I find it helpful to declare God's praises and remind myself of truth from His word by speaking it aloud and praying it back to Him. (You've probably noticed I talk to myself a lot! But hey, it works!)

4. GO: Remind yourself of God's truth and MOVE ON!

1 Peter 5:6 tells us that God will lift us up in due time and5:10 tells us that at the right time, God will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us.

Renew your mind with the truths of God's Word. RehearseHis attributes and character. Remind yourself of how you have seen God's faithfulness in the past. Then, Rest in Him!

Don't remain stuck, waiting for worry to hit you again. Move on, go forward, resting and trusting our God, who is the Heart-Knower, Almighty, Faithful, Eternal, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  GO about your day. When that worrisome or anxious thought creeps up again repeat the process beginning with STOP!

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7


Susan Cady is a Women's Bible Study leader at Warren Baptist Church.

©2014 Susan Cady,

April 28 Get Real

Get Real: Getting to the Root of Worry!

Are you a worrier? Do you tend to fixate on a problem or situation to the point of distraction or anxiety? Do you find yourself stuck in the past, rehearsing and reliving mistakes or difficulties? Do you find yourself obsessed with future events and outcomes? Do you wake in the middle of the night thinking on a situation from your day that you can't seem to shake? Are you often gripped by a paralyzing fear?  Do you tend to have a fearful "what if" mentality?  Yep, you might be a worrier!

Worry!  It's all-consuming.  It's exhausting!  Many times it seems we can't escape its stranglehold on our thoughts and lives.  

Take a look at the biblical definition for worry:

anxiety/worry merimna - anxiety, care that brings disruption to the personality and the mind. From 3307 merizō - to divide to separate into parts, cut into pieces to divide into parties, i.e. be split into factions - through the idea of distraction, care anxiety.)

Worry at its root is a heart issue.  It's rooted in unbelief and doubt about God's nature and character and it reveals what we truly treasure (Luke 12:34).  Worry in essence is saying we don't believe or trust God to handle this area of our lives. It's sin.  What we truly treasure controls our hearts and our hearts control our behavior. When we feel we are at risk of losing what we treasure, we tend to worry.

In Matthew 6:25-34 we find Jesus addressing this issue of worry in our lives. Jesus poses FIVE QUESTIONS to His listeners in this passage. These questions struck me as I studied and I realized they each reveal an area of our hearts that can be fertile soil for worry to take root and grow. Let's take look at some of the heart issues behind our worrying:

#1 - Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25b
Priority and Purpose!  When Jesus speaks of life in this passage he is referring to the life of our inner man -that which drives us, our affections, desires and passions.  Do you live for a purpose higher than food and clothing (earthly/material things)?  I believe this question addresses the areas purpose and priorities in life.  If our priorities and purpose are things of this world, i.e. position, power, success, happiness, then when those are at risk of being compromised, we worry.

#2 - Are you not of more value than they?  Matthew  6:26b
Identity!  Where do you find your value and worth?  What is the foundation for your identity?  Is it in performance, the approval and perception of others, or your past? Again when these are at risk of being devalued, we will worry.

#3 - And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  Matthew 6:27
Control! How can our worry affect even a single hour of our lives?  We cannot control all things in life.  In fact, God calls us to live out of control, in total dependence upon Him!  When we feel we are losing control in an area of our life we treasure, then we will worry.

#4 - And why are you anxious about clothing?  Matthew 6:28
Appearance and Perceptions!  Do you place value on how you look and what others think of you?  Are you living to impress the world with your lifestyle? Again when these are at risk or when our value of them is out of balance, we will tend to worry.

#5 - But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?Matthew 6:30

little faith - oligopistos - lacking confidence (in Christ), trusting too little.

Unbelief! Jesus sums it all up for us, "O you of little faith".  It's all about where we are placing our trust.  Do we really believe and trust God?  Our worry at its root reveals areas of our hearts where we don't truly trust and believe God.  It's when we have climbed up on the throne of our hearts in an attempt to control life.

Here are a couple more questions for you to ponder:  What do you truly treasure?  Who or what is ruling in the kingdom of your heart?  Do you expend as much energy and effort over your spiritual heart condition as you do worrying and being anxious about your physical or earthly condition?  (Whether it be provision, relationships, comfort, convenience, etc...)

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that. James 4:13-15

Worry divides, distracts and distorts our thinking. So we need a re-alignment in our thinking. Our focus is naturally drawn to the temporal/the world/the flesh and we need a renewed mind and spirit to refocus us.Defeating worry is about daily feeding your soul on the promises and truths of God's Word.  

Create in me a clean heart, OGod, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12

There's quite a bit here to digest and ponder about worry in our lives.  So for now, I'll leave you to it.  I'll be back next week with more truths from God's Word and practical steps you can take to overcome worry in your life.


Susan Cady is a Women's Bible Study leader at Warren Baptist Church.

©2014 Susan Cady,

April 21, 2014

Get Real: Finding True Strength

Where do you find strength when you're running on empty?How do you handle the pressures of life that create stress and frustration and leave you feeling weary and worn?  I tend to be pretty independent, a self-starter, a go-getter and therefore often find myself trying to "do it all" and "be it all".

I like to be in control.  I don't always find it easy to ask for help.  But when I try to operate in my own strength and do it all I end up frazzled, frustrated, overwhelmed and exhausted.  It's that Super Woman Syndrome!

  • For I am about to fall, and my pain is constantly with me. Psalm 38:17
  • For troubles without number have surrounded me; my sins have overtaken me; I am unable to see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my courage leaves me. Lord, be pleased to deliver me; hurry to help me, Lord. Psalm 40:12-13

But God does not call me to try to "do it all", "be it all", and operate in my own strength. When I do, I end up echoing the cry of the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40 years, "But now our strength is dried up..." (Numbers 11:6)

  • My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my portion forever.  
    Psalm 73:26

My heart and my flesh often fail.  I take on too much.  I try to solve everyone's problems.  I try to fix situations and relationships and maintain control and order in my life...And it's exhausting!  And it's all because I am operating in my own strength instead of relying on God's power and strength in my life.  Perhaps your strength is failing, not because you can't learn to let go, but because life's circumstances are like a tidal wave that just keeps washing over you.  You just can't seem to get your head above the water long enough to breathe!

Where we do find REAL strength, encouragement and comfort when we're overloaded, overwhelmed, operating in our own limited strength?

#1 We Find Strength in God's Word:
  • For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. -Romans 15:4                          
  • My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. -Psalm 119:28 
  • The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 
  • I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. -Psalm 119:45 (NIV)
  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.   -Hebrews 4:12
His Word provides eternal encouragement.  His Word is powerful and energizing.  His Word is living and active and renews and restores my weary heart and soul.  In His Word, I find real strength!

#2 We Find Strength in Prayer:
  • With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. When my spirit faints within me, you know my way!                  Psalm 142:1-3
  • Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.        - Psalm 62:8
  • Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. Psalm 118:5 
  • Pray without ceasing. - 1Thessalonians 5:17
  • Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Prayer is our refuge.  We can pour out our hearts to God at any moment, in any place. He hears our cry. He knows our heart.  He instructs us to prayer without ceasing. Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, living ever to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 6:19-20)  We may draw near and find grace to help in our time of need. Prayer is our sanctuary.

#3 We Find Strength in His Presence:
  • Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his  presence continually. Psalm 105:4
  • Be still, and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke  upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle  and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for  your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my  burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
  • Blessed are those whose strength is in you.         Psalm 84:5
  • For the Lord will not forsake his people.                     - Psalm  94:14
  • He is our helpPsalm 94:17
  • His steadfast love upholds us. Psalm 94:18
  • He is our stronghold and rock of refuge.          - Psalm  94:22 

In God's presence we find strength and joy.  He has given us His Spirit as our helper, comforter and teacher. (John 14-16).  In His presence we find peace and joy.  
We need to constantly seek Him because we all have that independent nature about us that wants to do it on our own! God has created us to live dependent upon Him because only in His presence will we find the strength, joy, peace and contentment we are seeking.
The Lord is everlasting God,
 the Creator of the ends of the earth.
 He does not faint or grow weary;
 He gives power to the faint,
 and to him who has might he increases strength.
 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
 and young men shall fall exhausted;
 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their  strength; they shall mount up with wings like  eagles; they shall run and not be weary; 
they shall walk and not faint. 
- Isaiah 40:28-31

Are you running on empty?  Are you at the end of your rope?  Are you in need of a refuge and some refueling?  

Find REAL strength in His Word, in prayer and in His presence!  He is always there...waiting for us to run to Him and cry out for help.


Susan Cady is a Women's Bible Study leader at Warren Baptist Church.

©2014 Susan Cady,