This past month I noticed a change in my pattern of worry. At times, it seemed non-existent.
My husband knows firsthand my battle with worry and anxiety. I succumb to worry and it’s wandering ways often throughout my day.
But lately, it’s as if my thoughts bounce off a guard rail that won’t let them pass through. My thoughts cease to stray and a cloud of peace settles over me. At times, I have noticed an anxious thought wander in and then just disappear.
My mind is protected by an unknown force and I experience peace in a way that I have not known before. It is the “peace” that Paul spoke about:
“and the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Philippians 4:17)
We exercise our body to stay fit physically and in the same way we need to discipline our mind and learn to control our thoughts.
The Apostle Paul tells us that we must literally take every thought captive:
“and we are taking every thought captive . . ” – 2 Corinthians 4:4
We must take hold of our wandering thoughts by interrupting their pattern and break their power over our mind.
First, we need to recognize the thought that is causing us to worry such as looking for a new job or having the house ready in time for company. We can plan for events but not worry about them.
Take your wandering thoughts captive by purposefully refocusing on what you are doing in the present. Refocusing on the present breaks your worry patttern and pulls our thoughts back to reality.
It’s hard work but we need to do it repeatedly and like exercise it gets easier the more we do it.
At other times it can be as simple as meditating on a Bible verse that addresses worry.
This is what Jesus referred to when He said, “Take no thought for tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). He doesn’t want us thinking about the future.
It is a battle to control my thoughts. To help me do this, I have placed sticky notes around my kitchen window with statements that remind me to focus and stay in the present.
When I come downstairs in the morning, I stop and read these statements to myself. When I am fatigued and my thoughts begin to wander, I stand in front of my kitchen window, take a deep breath, and slowly, purposefully say these affirmations out loud to myself.
Throughout the day I practice these mental exercises and remind myself:
- To stay in the present and out of the future
- To focus on one thing
- To slow down
- To pay attention to detail in whatever I am doing
I am amazed by the results I get when I pull my thoughts back to the present moment and pay attention to what I am doing. I often find there is more than enough time in my day to get things done.
We are exhausted because we are not only doing today’s work, but by worrying about tomorrow we are doing the next day’s work as well.
The Apostle Paul exhorts us in Philippians to “not worry or be anxious about anything.”
We can reset our minds and break the stronghold of anxiety in our lives by choosing to live in the moment. Our hearts and minds will be protected and garrisoned off with the peace that passes all understanding.