One Year Devotions for Women
   Devotion for Thursday , October 04, 2012
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Selection Taken From:
The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace by Ann Spangler

Wouldn't it be nice to live with less fear and anxiety and more confidence and joy? In this 365-day devotional, you'll spend time with God every day, learning to breathe deeply and grab hold of the holy peace he offers. Each meditation includes a key NLT Scripture verse, a brief message, and a suggested prayer. 384 pages, softcover from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Copyright 2012.

FAULTY ALARMS

I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.

- Psalm 3:6

Here’s a list of the things my children have already survived: automobile accidents, bird flu, cancer, and kidnapping. If you think that’s impressive, listen to what I’ve managed to live through: bankruptcy, an airline crash, a stroke, robbery, and attempted murder—yes, murder! Okay, well, maybe not. It’s just that all these are things I’ve worried about at times, my anxious mind propelling us into disasters that never happened. Can you relate?

Most of us waste precious time and energy dealing with threats that never materialize. Still, worry can be useful if it wakes us up to impending problems, motivating us to seek solutions in response. Worry is a good thing when it serves as a helpful alert. The problem comes when worry morphs into a faulty alarm that won’t stop ringing.

Here are a few practical tips for turning off your worry alarm.

1. Since worry is often powered by thoughts that develop below the surface, slow down and think about what you are thinking. Write down whatever undercurrents are powering your anxiety.
2. Once you have these thoughts on paper, examine them rationally. Pretend you are a trial lawyer, looking for holes, distortions, and inaccuracies in your thinking. Are you taking the whole picture into account or only emphasizing the most negative dimensions? What evidence refutes or supports your thoughts?
3. Based on your rational examination, formulate a response that is more realistic than your original thoughts. For example, you might conclude, “Just because my son received an F on his last algebra test doesn’t mean he’s going to flunk out of school.”
Perhaps the most effective way to deal with worry is to “de-catastrophize” it. We do this by facing it squarely, asking ourselves what’s the worst that could happen. Then we think about what we would do to cope with the situation. Doing so may help diminish our anxiety and give us a sense of healthy control.3 As you take these steps, be sure to ask God to guide your thinking through the power of his Spirit.

Lord, remind me today that you are stronger than any enemy I will face—real or imagined.

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