How to Put Worry in a Timeout

american football referee gestures time out silhouetteRuby Rain is the youngest of our four lovely daughters. She is 8-years old and has a bit of a dramatic edge, which means every now and then I have to reel Ruby back in with a timeout.

When she is getting out of hand, I will say something like,

Ruby, go have a seat on the bottom step.”

She knows the step I’m referring to…it’s the first one going upstairs to the loft. This is Ruby’s very own designated timeout spot.

Thirty minutes later, she’s good as gold.

But Ruby isn’t the only one who needs an occasional timeout. Sometimes I have to put myself in one. Even though I’m a grown up, when life gets hectic, in my head I can get as carried away as an irrational 8-year old. I start worrying and fretting about things that I cannot control and frantically I try to manage the unmanageable.

If you can relate to this experience, allow me to remind you of a powerful passage in Scripture that outlines a brilliant alternative approach to worry. It explains how to put worry in a timeout before it gets the best of you:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Here, Paul describes the therapeutic relief of conversational prayer with God. Instead of worrying, we have a wide-open invitation from God to pray candidly about anything and everything that might be bugging us. When we do this, it opens up a lane to our hearts for God to deliver His supernatural gift of peace.

So, whatever might be causing you some anxiety today, take a timeout on your bottom step and pray about it. In your own words, say whatever you need to say. Convert your anxieties and stressors into prayer requests. Put worry in a timeout.

But don’t be surprised if you have to do it again tomorrow, because like an unruly child, worry will eventually slink away from its confinement and start acting up again.

In the meantime, peace.

It’s a new day with God. Run with it.


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