Have you ever said, “Oh, I’m just a worrier.”? For many years of my life “Worrier” was my middle name. In fact, the beginning of most of my thoughts started with the same two-word phrase, “What if…?” Those thoughts usually ended with me dissolving into a pile of defeated tears. During one season of my life that I refer to as the “Dark Years,” our family was struggling on all levels of life due to a variety of unexpected hardships. Each day, my list of what-if worries grew like adding cars on the back of an already long train.
Did you know that the word worry actually means to strangle or torture? Worry begins when we ask what if questions about uncertain situations we can’t control. Without knowing how things will turn out, we tend to answer those what if questions with the worst-case scenario endings. For example, if your boss asks you to drop by her office before you leave for the day, you might begin wondering, What if she doesn’t like the report I’ve done? or What if I lose my job? Without a way to know the answer, your mind starts running a mental movie starring you. As the scenes unfold, you see yourself unemployed, unhappy, hungry and homeless on the street. By the time your mental movie ends, your heartbeat is racing, you’ve got a queasy stomach and your entire afternoon is ruined.
Research tells us that 85% of what we worry about won’t actually happen, but that doesn’t stop us from worrying.
For over a decade, I worked in ministry, business and as a life coach helping women like myself deal with anxiety and worry from God’s perspective. In my book, Winning the Worry Battle, I identify four different types of worriers and how they act out worry in their lives:
A. Silent Sufferer: Stuffs her worries deep inside and doesn’t talk about them.
B. Mother Hen: Often nags others to try to reduce stress and anxiety.
C. Busy Body: Constant activity because unfinished tasks or projects create stress and worry.
D. Control Freak: Maneuvers or manipulates others in order to reduce inner anxiety.
Which one can you relate to? During my kids’ younger years, I was a control freak because I worried non-stop about my self-image, my kids, and my husband. I worried that my kids’ teachers would think that I was a bad mom, so I controlled what my kids packed for lunch. I was so afraid that my kids would get kidnapped that I wouldn’t let them ride their bikes around the block. I thought that if I could control everything, then I would feel less anxious. But that wasn’t true! There was always something to be worried about, so I tried to control things until God allowed a few situations in my life I couldn’t control. That was God’s invitation to turn my fears and worries over to Him! That’s when I finally won my worry battle. I’ve since made heartfelt amends with my family because my worry deeply affected their lives.
No matter what kind of worrier you are, I think you already know this: Worrying doesn’t work. Like the old saying, worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. Jesus pointed this out to us long ago. In Matthew 6, he was talking to a group of people on a hillside. I think Jesus knew there were all types of worriers standing and listening to him that day. In verse 27 (NLT), Jesus challenges us with the following words:
“Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life?”
My friend, make today the last day that you let fear or worry steal the best and precious moments of your life!
More about Winning the Worry Battle
For those who struggle with worry and anxiety, each day can feel as if they are fighting a losing battle. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. Research also reveals that women are twice as likely to be affected by Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and specific phobias. From personal experience, author and Bible teacher Barb Roose understands what it means to battle with worry. She has written her new book Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua (Abingdon Press/April 17, 2018/$16.99,) and a companion Bible study on Joshua, to share the wisdom she’s garnered over the years to help other women gain victory over their anxieties.
Combining inspiration, humor, and personal stories that resonate across all ages, Winning the Worry Battle, which is inspired by the Bible’s book of Joshua, offers encouragement and practical worry-fighting tools for handling those situations that cause us to struggle with worry, anxiety, fear, or even complete meltdown.
“If I had to define the intensity of my worry on a scale of 1-10, I’d choose 9 to describe my teen through early parenting years,” Roose confesses. “After I married and began a family, my worries surrounded my kids and career, but mostly my kids. My mind spun awful mental movies when my kids were growing up. I really struggled with thinking about worst-case scenarios, which led to a lot of helicopter parenting. As a Christian, I beat myself up for being a worrier. I felt like a bad Christian because ‘just pray about it’ didn’t seem to work for me.”
Roose shares how she learned that while prayer is important, it is only half of the solution. The other half of the equation is developing three God-empowered tools required to fight in faith: peace, courage, and strength. In Winning the Worry Battle Roose offers fresh, practical techniques—like the CALM Technique, God-morning/God-night, and Count to 12 memory device—to apply these God-empowered tools to overcome our daily struggles and the bigger battles we all face.
“Whether it is personal worries about loved ones and daily circumstances or broader concerns about what’s happening in the world, the data indicates that worry is a persistent issue that many combat on a day-to-day basis,” adds Roose. “Rather than offer well-meaning cliches, God has empowered us with tools that he promises will get us into position for victory as we put real feet to faith for winning the worry battle.”
For further exploration of the subject, Roose has also written Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle women’s Bible study. Releasing alongside the book are the participant workbook, leader guide, and DVD.
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God. Her goal is to equip women to win at life with Christ-empowered strength and dignity. Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country and abroad. Her latest book is Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua along with the companion Bible study.