Less Fret, More Faith: An 11-Week Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety

Less Fret, More Faith: An 11-Week Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety

by Max Lucado

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Overview

A pass-along companion to Anxious for Nothing that features an 11-week plan to overcome anxiety.

According to one research program, anxiety-related issues are the number one mental health problem among women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men. Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity. And use of sedative drugs like Xanax and Valium have skyrocketed in the last 15 years. Even students are feeling it. One psychologist reports that the average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s. Chances are, you or someone you know seriously struggles with anxiety.

Max writes, "The news about our anxiety is enough to make us anxious.” He knows what it feels like to be overcome by the worries and fear of life, which is why he is dedicated to helping millions of readers take back control of their minds and, as a result, their lives.

This 64-page booklet features practical steps from Max Lucado to help readers overcome anxiety. Eleven weekly reminders in all, each segment includes a Scripture verse for meditation, and a prayer to reframe anxious thoughts.

This booklet includes a passage from the book, Anxious for Nothing, by New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado. The small trim and low price point make this booklet easy to share with friends and family who are struggling with anxiety and need a fresh perspective on how to face it.

Stop letting anxiety rule the day. Join Max on the journey to true freedom and experience more joy, clarity, physical renewal, and contentment by the power of the Holy Spirit. Anxiety comes with life. But it doesn't have to dominate your life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400207497
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Pages: 64
Sales rank: 151,911
Product dimensions: 4.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Since entering the ministry in 1978, Max Lucado has served churches in Miami, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Teaching Minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. He is America’s bestselling inspirational author with more than 140 million books in print.

Visit his website at MaxLucado.com

Facebook.com/MaxLucado

Instagram.com/MaxLucado

Twitter.com/MaxLucado

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Week 1

ASSESS YOUR TOOL KIT

Whether we know it or not, we all have coping strategies. We have a tool kit to open in times of anxiety. Some tools are healthy, others counterproductive. An important step in assembling good tools is identifying the bad ones. Examine the list below, and place a check next to the tools you use.

When I am anxious, I do the following:

___ try to relax

___ seek advice and assurance from a trusted friend

___ take prescription medication

___ suppress my feelings

___ busy myself with activities unrelated to my problem (e.g., wash clothes, mow the grass)

___ get angry

___ have a smoke

___ pray, meditate, read Scripture

___ try to understand the source of my worry

___ other______________________________

Evaluate your list. Are your coping methods, by and large, good ones? Or does your response to anxiety create even more problems? Reduce your list to the tools that actually help you resolve the problem. Share your revised list with someone you trust, and ask that person to pray with you about a new strategy.

Verse for Reflection

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

Pray It Through

Lord,

Grant me the wisdom to remember that you are not the source of anxiety. Rather, help me remember that resting in you provides relief from all worry. Give me the courage to choose what is good and pure, even when it is hard or inconvenient.

In your holy name, amen.

CHAPTER 2

Week 2

EVALUATE YOUR WORRY PATTERNS

This week make a note every time you feel anxious. Observe some details about your troubling thoughts.

• What were you worried about? Here are some examples to get you thinking. "This traffic will make me late for the meeting! I'm going to miss the best part!"

"I'm worried that it's going to rain on next Saturday's picnic."

"I catch myself thinking about the kids and their college tuition. Are we saving enough money?"

• What situation or event triggered the anxiety?

• How did this anxiety make you feel?

• How did you react?

Take a few minutes to review what you have observed about your worries.

• Try to identify the core fear or insecurity behind the anxiety. Do you see a common theme? Is there some catastrophic event you fear?

• How many of your worries materialized? Highlight the number of times you were worried about something that never actually happened.

• Was the gain worth the pain? As you look at the emotional toll the anxiety took, was it worth it?

• How did your anxiety affect others in your life?

• Is there anything you can do to address the source of anxiety? What is a practical step you can take? Make an intentional choice to act so the next time this anxiety surfaces, you can tell yourself what you are doing to alleviate the potential problem.

Each morning add your concern to your prayer time. Ask God to go ahead of you.

Verse for Reflection

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

Pray It Through

Father,

I release the fears and anxieties I face today, and I place them in your hands. Help me surrender my tendency to try to control certainty. May the truth that you are sovereign over every detail of today bring peace to my heart and my mind.

In Jesus' name, amen.

CHAPTER 3

Week 3

CLEAN YOUR LIFE LENS

Everyone has assumptions about life. Many are useful and constructive. We know that the sun will rise and set each day. We assume that storms will pass and that food will be available in grocery stores. Some assumptions, however, are toxic. Even worse, they are contrary to the truth. Unhealthy assumptions include thoughts like these:

I'm unworthy. I don't deserve to have good things happen to me.

People abandon me. When people come to know the real me, they leave.

It's all my fault. I'm to blame for every bad thing that happens to me.

No one has my back, which makes me vulnerable. Something bad is going to happen.

The world feels dangerous. I'm scared.

Many false beliefs were formed in the early years of our lives when we did not have the ability to challenge them. So their roots run deep, and such false assumptions create an anxiety-ridden life. God's solution? Truth. Face worries with truth. Bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5 ASV). One way to do this is to correct faulty thinking with accurate thoughts.

I matter to God. He made me, knows me, and has a plan for my life.

I am worthy of love. I'm not perfect, but I have abilities and God-given gifts.

I'm not responsible for all the bad things. I've made mistakes, but I am learning and growing, and, most of all, I am forgiven by God.

I'm protected. It is a dangerous world, but I serve a mighty God who knows and loves me.

Listen to yourself. Monitor your beliefs about yourself, about God, and about the world. Don't allow false assumptions to take up any space in your mind. Immediately treat them with truth.

Verse for Reflection

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? (Luke 12:24-26 NIV)

Pray It Through

Lord,

Deconstruct the lies I believe about myself, about the world, and about you. Replace those lies with the truth of your love and care. Help me get out of the way. Please re-create my perspective so that truth reigns and guides my beliefs, decisions, and actions.

In your holy name, amen.

CHAPTER 4

Week 4

CAST A VOTE IN YOUR FAVOR

You are either your worst critic or greatest cheerleader. Either you tear yourself down or you build yourself up. The words you tell yourself can usher in fear or faith. Are you against you? Or are you for you?

God is for you. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31). He has cast his vote. In his opinion you are worth the death of his Son. You are valuable, purposeful, and important. "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine" (Isa. 43:1 RSV).

If God is for you, shouldn't you be for you? Does it make sense for you to be against you? You are against you when you call yourself dumb, ugly, or poor. You are against you when you tell yourself there is no solution, hope, or promise in life. You are against you when you decide you have no talents or friends or future.

The words you tell yourself have power. If you tell yourself something often enough, guess what? It becomes your version of the truth! Those offhand negative remarks you mumble about yourself aren't harmless; they are toxic. They actually agree with the devil. They give him a foothold. "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit" (Prov. 15:4 NIV).

Hold fast to the promises of Scripture. Tell yourself the truth about yourself. The apostle Paul modeled this for us. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:37-39 NIV).

Personalize that passage. Insert the sources of anxiety that come your way. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither poor health nor poor decisions, neither college debt nor pink slips, neither today's deadline nor tomorrow's diagnosis, nor any job transfers, neither addictions nor moral failures, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Be for you! God is.

Verse for Reflection

Use Romans 8:37-39 as quoted above.

Pray It Through

Lord,

Make my tongue a tree of life! Help me see myself and my situation in light of what you have done for me. Keep your love for me in the forefront of my mind today.

In your precious name, amen.

CHAPTER 5

Week

CATCH YOUR BREATH

Time for rest must be taken daily and weekly. God told Moses, "Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed" (Ex. 23:12 NIV).

This was not a suggestion, recommendation, or piece of practical advice. This was a command. Rest! Once a week let the system reboot. Once a week let the entire household slow down. The Israelite who violated this law paid for the sin with his or her life. Today the death penalty is still in effect, but the death is a gradual one that comes from overwork, stress, and anxiety.

The Bible does not see rest as a sign of weakness or laziness but as a mark of reverence. To observe a Sabbath day of rest is to announce, "God knows what I need more than I do. If he says to rest, I will rest." And, as we do, our bodies and minds will be refreshed.

Never has rest been more important. We move at too fast a pace! Our adrenaline spigot is seldom shut off. As we race for late-night flights and add early-morning meetings, we are stretched beyond our limits. High adrenaline output depletes the brain's natural tranquilizers and sets the stage for high anxiety. Many of us have been trained to associate relaxation with irresponsibility, so some rewiring is needed.

Try this:

Don't overdo it. Understand your limits. If you think you have no limits, then you have more than most people.

Once you have reached your limits, stop. Don't work until you drop. Find a pace of life that works for you, and stick to it.

Maintain regular breaks during the day. Naps are biblical.

Give your mind a rest from technology. Turn off, unplug, detach from social media, news, and all the tech toys that deplete energy.

Learn to relax. To relax is to disengage and let go. An hour or daylong Sabbath is not the time to catch up with your work. It is a time to entrust your work to God. After all, he worked for six days and then rested. The world didn't fall apart. It won't for you either.

Verse for Reflection

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)

Pray It Through

Lord,

Break me of the need to be busy pursuing a sense of self-worth. Make me secure in who you are and who you have made me to be, and as a result, teach me what it means to truly rest.

In your holy name, amen.

CHAPTER 6

Week 6

PRAY IT THROUGH

Worry is the interest we pay on the prayer-less life. Worry happens when we keep our problems to ourselves or present our problems to the puny deities of money, muscle, or humankind.

Peace happens when we pray. The act of prayer moves us from a spirit of concern to a spirit of gratitude. Even before our prayers are answered, our hearts begin to change. So take these steps:

Take your worries to God. Set aside some time each day to pour out your concerns, complaints, fears, and woes to him. Tell him what is keeping you awake. Don't suppress; express!

• If you find yourself worrying about something during the day, write it down so you can bring it up in your next prayer session. Take everything to God and then ... leave it with him. When the intrusive thought reenters your mind, remind yourself, I left that one with God.

Find a promise to match your problem. When Moses prayed for the wayward Israelites, he sought God's favor, reminding God of what he had promised: "Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self" (Ex. 32:13). Moses prayed for God's will based on God's Word.

Pray specifically. Tell God exactly what troubles you so that when he answers the prayer, you will know.

Verse for Reflection

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

Pray It Through

Almighty God,

Bolster my prayer life! Make me persistent, courageous, and specific. May I depend on communion with you as much as I depend on the air that I breathe. Teach me a little more each day what it looks like to "pray without ceasing."

In your Son's name, amen.

CHAPTER 7

Week 7

GROW IN GRATITUDE

How positive or negative is your thinking? Try this exercise:

1. Take a few moments to sit and look around you.

2. Find something negative in everything you see.

3. Make a list of all the critical and unhappy thoughts that come into your mind.

4. Notice how you feel when you are finished, and write those feelings down.

Not much fun? A steady diet of critical, negative, and ungrateful thoughts leaves us critical, negative, and ungrateful. Now try the opposite approach.

1. Take a few moments and look around you.

2. Find something positive in everything you see.

3. Make a list of all the kind, generous, and grateful thoughts that come into your mind.

4. Notice the difference.

What if this exercise became a way of life? It can. Nobody other than you has the power to make you miserable and unhappy. As you pass through your day, look for opportunities to see the good in the world, in nature, and in life. This simple exercise will place your mind in a healthy posture of gratitude.

Verse for Reflection

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Pray It Through

Lord,

I desire to be characterized by gratitude. I admit that I am more prone to dwell on the negative than the positive and to pine after the what-ifs rather than bask in the "alreadys." Give me the grace to truly rejoice in the many good gifts you have given.

In your holy name, amen.

CHAPTER 8

Week 8

LEARN THE MESSAGE OF THE MANNA

God promised to supply Moses and the Hebrews with manna each day. But he told them to collect only one day's supply at a time. Those who disobeyed and collected enough for two days found themselves with rotten manna. The only exception to the rule was the day prior to the Sabbath. On Friday they could gather twice as much. In other words, God gave them what they needed in their time of need. "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes" (Matt. 6:34 the message).

Doesn't each day have its share of challenges? Some of them repeat themselves over time; others are one-day specials. The key to tranquility is to face today's problems and no more, to treat each day like a self-contained unit. Here are today's problems. Meet them with God's strength. But don't start tackling tomorrow's problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow's strength yet. You simply have enough for today. You can't cross a bridge until you reach it.

Find a parking place for tomorrow's problems. When they surface, write them down and mentally drive them into a parking garage and leave them there.

Don't overstress your coping skills. Emotional energy is finite. Give yourself permission to say, "I will solve this tomorrow. By sunrise I will be replenished physically and mentally. Every day is a fresh start, so I will start fresh in the morning."

Shut the gate on yesterday, and don't touch the gate on tomorrow. "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Ps. 118:24). You no longer have yesterday. You do not yet have tomorrow. You only have today. Live in it!

Consider the words of George MacDonald:

No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It's when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourselves so, my friends. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God's. He begs you to leave the future to Him and to mind the present.

Verse for Reflection

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:33-34)

Pray It Through

Lord,

Thank you for the gift of another day of life! I praise you in advance for all that it holds. I give you the worries, anxieties, and fears that I am experiencing now and those that are jet to come. Carry them for me, and keep my focus on seeking your kingdom in every interaction and duty that confronts me today.

In Jesus' name, amen.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Less Fret More Faith"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Max Lucado.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Anxious for Nothing, v,
Week 1: Assess Your Tool Kit, 1,
Week 2: Evaluate Your Worry Patterns, 4,
Week 3: Clean Your Life Lens, 8,
Week 4: Cast a Vote in Your Favor, 12,
Week 5: Catch Your Breath, 16,
Week 6: Pray It Through, 20,
Week 7: Grow in Gratitude, 23,
Week 8: Learn the Message of the Manna, 26,
Week 9: Take Responsibility for Your Feelings, 30,
Week 10: Interrupt the Downward Spiral, 33,
Week 11: Tell Yourself the Truth, 37,
Notes, 40,

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Less Fret, More Faith: An 11-Week Action Plan to Overcome Anxiety 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Instead of going through it in the weekly format, I read it through in a couple of sittings. Provides some helpful tips on how not to let things make you anxious. Will definitely come back to these principles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this to anyone that needs help dealing with anxiety!!