Never worry alone – defeating toxic anxiety

By Dave Henning / July 1, 2017

“Never worry alone.  One of the most powerful ways to stop the spiral of worry is simply to disclose my worry to a friend.”- John Ortberg

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”- Romans 12:2

John Ortberg concludes Chapter 10 of The Me I Want to Be with two ways to grow out of timidity.

1.  Let love cast out fear.  Toxic anxiety causes us to recycle our negative, self-defeating, persistent thoughts.  Therefore, toxic anxiety prevents us from taking action.  In addition, it paralyzes us.  Hence, Pastor Ortberg suggests several ways to let God’s love cast our fear.  God’s love casts out fear in your body when you are:

  • alone with God
  • pray with a few people
  • read about the life of Jesus
  • sing a hymn or listen to music
  • blessed as the Holy Spirit uses other people to comfort you

John concludes that prayer = the single most fundamental spiritual discipline for putting off anxiety and putting on peace.

2.  Take direct action to face your fear.  Living in peace (a) not only involves our inner thoughts but also (b) flows from what we actually do.  In fact, the Holy Spirit helps us grow in peace as He leads us in circumstances we’re tempted to avoid in fear.  As a result, we need to step out in trust.  Simply hearing messages about God’s care provides insufficient impetus to move forward.

In conclusion, John summarizes why we must place ourselves in the flow of the Spirit:

“There is no way to get the peace of God from our head to the rest of our body besides trusting God enough to directly confront our greatest fear. . . . The Bible and prayer were not given to us as forms of anxiety avoidance.  In the long run, anytime we avoid doing the right thing out of fear, we die a little inside.”

Today’s question: How have you practiced John’s advice to never worry alone?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A ‘stained-glass’ image of prayer”

About the author

Dave Henning

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