Perhaps those of you who know me think of me as a calm person. You are half right. On the surface in most situations I do not lose my head. But underneath I am often a turmoil of worry. I have been working on this for some time. Every now and then a game changer comes along and bumps up my progress. One such beauty appeared to me in the form of Max Lucado. Yes, that sweet folksy storyteller you all have heard of.
In times of anxiety, pretty much 24/7 for us moderns, he recommends the following steps. Yes, they’re an acronym. So easy to remember. Think of them as four angels, messengers of peace.
C-Celebrate. When struck by an anxious worrying thought, find a reason to celebrate what God has done for you, repeating things for which you are grateful. Sound trite? It will immediately divert the dark thought if even for a moment. Try it.
A-Ask. Give God a detailed list of what you need. Wisdom for a decision? Financial help? Be extremely detailed. Write it down if you can. Composing this list will help to clean out all the dirty corners of your worry and anxiety so you can see everything that is bothering you. Then request all the help you can, down to the minutest details from God, the ultimate Heavenly Father.
L-Leave it. Now this is the most transformative step of all, I think. Lucado gives an example of dropping your car/ appliance off at the shop. “You bring along your sleeping bag, right?” he teases, “Then you tell the repair person you’ll be right here in case they need your help?” I suddenly realized I’ve been doing that all my life with God. Now of course I am actively responsible for my actions and there are many things I must do when I’m in a pickle. I must show up, own up and suit up for my own life. But lingering in worry and fear about things only makes everything worse, because it brings out the worst me. This was never God’s plan.
M-Meditate on good things. There is a list of things we are told to think about–yes God is a sort of Thought-Police. But all for our betterment! And this list is one that brings us into the state of joy everyone longs for. I give you the list. Think about things that are:
Focusing on positive people, events, nature, ideas, and future hopes is a wonderful way to transform yourself from the inside out. Ask Tony Robbins. There’s a reason for his success but it’s been written in the ancient scripture all along. The simple act of holding my body in a posture that reflects my dearest wishes can alter and improve body chemistry.
If you, like me, have been captive to worry, you will have to work hard to retrain old habits. It will be almost a constant battle. You will not change overnight. But just like going to the gym or eating right, it will pay off over time. The habitual repetition of these steps will train you to be in command of the uncertain circumstances of life and make you a person others want to be around. It’s a wonderful tool and I’m so glad I found it. I hope it’s helpful for you too.
Thank you Max Lucado for your wise and practical words!