A game plan for defeating worry

Part 2 of an interview with Barb Roose,
Author of Winning the Worry Battle
Have you ever tried to fight worry with faith and felt you were losing the battle? Have comments like “God’s got this!” or “Just pray about it” only left you feeling more burdened? We know we shouldn’t worry, but the reality is that we all do at times. Whether it’s personal worries about loved ones and daily circumstances or broader concerns about what’s happening in the world, we long for something more than platitudes that will help us put real feet to our faith and win the worry battle.

Many Christians do not have a full understanding of what it means to fight the good fight of faith. They try to live by faith but in the face of everyday trials and failures, they find themselves disillusioned and discouraged, wondering if they have done something wrong or if living by faith only works for others. The problem for most is simply a lack of understanding regarding what faith is and how it works.

In Winning the Worry Battle (Abingdon Press), inspired by the Book of Joshua, Barb Roose reviews three tools a person can develop to Fight In Faith: 1) embracing God's promises, 2) courage and commitment under pressure and 3) practicing radical obedience while waiting for God to deliver your victory.

Q: Tell us more about the three fighting friends a person should take with them into the battle with worry.

Our three fighting friends are powerful tools God gives us: peace, courage, and strength. In the book, I talk about how these tools help us change the channel from our worried thoughts to fixing our minds on God’s promises. These three fighting friends are active warriors we rely upon when we’re not praying.

Peace is the fighting friend that quiets your mind and assures you of security. It whispers, God is here. You aren’t alone, even when circumstances around you scream otherwise. When you have peace, your mind isn’t panicking, your heart isn’t racing, and your stomach isn’t threatening to erupt. Instead, your mind is calm, your heartbeat is slow and steady, and your stomach is settled.

Courage is the fighting friend that keeps you from running away from your struggles—even when you really, really want to escape or ignore your troubles. Courage keeps you pushing forward in commitment instead of falling back in the face of fear or worry.

Our final fighting friend is strength. It enables us to keep holding on and hanging on. This fighting friend is different from our human strength, which has its limits. Our human strength isn’t enough to win over worry. We need spiritual strength. Instead of trying to move your mountain of problems on your own, you step back and out of God’s way and let him do the heavy lifting. Spiritual strength requires you to give up your “I can do it” or “I can handle it” mindset and tap into “God’s got this” mindset instead.

The key to our fighting friends is training them because our fighting friends are only as effective as we develop them. In the book, we talk about training our fighting friends and introduce a number of tools to help us train our fighting friends because they are what help us get into position for God to give us victory ever day of our lives over worry.

Q: What are the different ways worry can manifest itself in women?

At the beginning of Winning the Worry Battle, I identify four different types of worriers:

·         Silent Sufferer: keeps all of her fears and worries to herself
·         Busy Body: overworks to control worry
·         Control Freak: manipulates to reduce fear and worry
·         Mother Hen: nags others to feel calmer

It’s difficult to admit this, I was definitely 88% control freak and 12% Mother Hen. I stayed worried about making sure that every stayed happy and safe, including me. In fact, I even bought a house without telling my husband because I worried that our current house wouldn’t be good enough for our family in the future. Thank goodness God brought me along way BEFORE the advent of texting, or else I would have nagged my kids to death via text message with constant inquires about “Did you forget . . .” “Do you have . . .” and “What about . . . ?” As moms, we have to check ourselves to make sure that those constant contacts with our kids aren’t about trying to satisfy our worry.

Q: There are verses about worry throughout the New Testament. Why did you focus your Biblical study of worry on the book of Joshua?

I love adventure, and Joshua has always been a biblical figure that has defined courage for me. In fact, many years ago, Joshua inspired me to go skydiving.

Yet, as I learned about Joshua, I noticed that God kept repeating the phrases, “be strong and courageous” as well as “don’t be afraid or discouraged.” I began asking why God would keep repeating those phrases to Joshua. While Joshua doesn’t have much dialogue God’s words give us some clues into his mental and emotional state. It seems Joshua might have had to battle some type of worry and anxiety just like we do.

Q: How do we learn to view uncertainty from God’s perspective rather than our own?
I felt such freedom when I realized God protects me with what He doesn’t give me as much as He blesses me with what He does give me. God doesn’t struggle with our uncertainty. He’s totally comfortable leaving open-ended timelines, unresolved issues, and “which path should I choose?” quandaries. At times, I’ve gotten frustrated with God because I wanted Him to settle some of the big uncertainties in my life because I hated living in the tension of the unknown. Yet, God’s taught me two things about uncertainty:

1.     I can’t know everything that God knows.
2.     I don’t want to know everything that God knows.

Part of why I loved studying the book of Joshua was the Israelites dealt with one unknown situation after another. Yet, their faith and foundation weren’t in having the detailed answers; rather they had to keep pressing and pushing forward, trusting a detailed God who would give them the answers as they needed them. That’s the powerful lesson I keep learning each day.

Q: Explain what you mean by “the fear of our fear is actually our worry.”

Think about a specific fear, such as spiders. I hate spiders! When we can picture what we are afraid of, we don’t look at that fear in a vacuum. Instead, we imagine different storylines for how our fear might hurt us. I call these extension fears our “what if” worries. Questions such as “What if the spider bites me?” or “What if I’m trapped in a room with a spider?” Our original fear was a spider, but the “what if’s” are the worries that branch off of our original fear. Those worries are like the legs of a spider that extend from our original fear. I actually call this eight-legged worry.

This also explains why the Bible has so many verses about “do not fear.” God knows that one fear could branch out and develop lots of other fears associated with it.

Q: What other resources are available to go along Winning the Worry Battle?

I have also written the six-week Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle Bible study that is releasing at the same time as the book. There is a participant workbook, leader guide, leader kit, and DVD that provide an in-depth study on the book of Joshua.

Joshua is a culmination of events that began in Genesis and followed the Israelites for 450 years through the desert. Bible scholars will love the study because you’ll get to see stunning examples of how events in Genesis through Numbers are tied up in Joshua. There are also tools and self-evaluation devices to help participants gauge how they are making progress in their worry battle.

Both the book and Bible study contain lots of practical tools, such as CALM Technique, 1+1 Prayer Technique, God-Morning/God-Night Technique, Carefrontation Sandwich, and much more!

Visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).