Leaders worry about stuff. I don’t mean that wring your hands, fretting, and get sick to your stomach kind of worry. But that kind of natural focused concern about things you care about.
Like we “worry” about our kids. Parents care; we just do. We want our kids to be safe, healthy, and make good decisions. That’s normal, but not the best use of our emotional energy and spiritual capacity.
The bottom line is that worry isn’t helpful, productive, and rarely if ever, changes anything.
There are common worries leaders experience such as:
- Worry about what other people think.
- Worry about what we can’t control.
- Worry about difficult decisions.
- Worry about finances.
- Worry about church growth.
- Worry about opposition or a confrontation.
- Worry about failing relationships.
Corrie Ten Boom said: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” That is such good wisdom!
But on a practical level, it doesn’t help to simply say, “Don’t worry, it will all work out.” As leaders, we know that things work out when we work them out.
And it really doesn’t help when someone says, “Don’t worry, be happy.” It’s more complex than that.
Sometimes in an attempt to stop worrying, we overreact. It’s actually possible to overdo it so much that you pass right over courage, trust in God, and peace by moving all the way to “I don’t care, or “it doesn’t matter anyway.”
The emotion that goes with “I don’t care” is a self-protection mechanism, especially in cases of prolonged, unresolved, or heightened worry. And rarely is it true, because you really do care, and that’s why that kind of thinking doesn’t work.
What is actually happening is that the worry has caused you to become overwhelmed, and you lose perspective in your thinking.
Essentially, worry is wasted emotion, and rethinking your circumstance is necessary.
In a leadership talk, John Maxwell asked the question, “Why worry?” Here’s what he said:
- 40% will never happen.
- 30% concerns old decisions that cannot be changed.
- 12% centers upon criticisms made by people who feel inferior.
- 10% is related to my health, which worsens when I worry.
- 8% is legitimate which can be met head on when I have eliminated senseless worries.
That’s the beginning of winning the battle. When it comes to worrying, focus on what you can do something about.
That leads us to the first step to remedy worry.
1) Take Action
If there is nothing you can do about it, let it go. Stop losing sleep over it, and really let it go.
That isn’t easy, but that’s where rethinking your situation in such a way that you can get hold of the truth of the matter will help you immensely.
For that small percentage of legitimate concerns, do something. Take action! Such as:
- Pick up the phone.
- Make a decision.
- Have the conversation.
- Get some help.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?Matthew 6:25-27
2) Put your trust in the right place.
When the heat is on, and pressure is high, it’s not always easy to trust God, but that’s the most important time to trust Him! That’s when we need Him most.
That doesn’t always immediately remove or solve the issue; however, it definitely increases your peace and confidence! But, when you worry and don’t trust God, then by default, you are trusting in yourself.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.Matthew 6:33-34
When we trust God, instead of worry, we increase our faith.
As your faith increases, your influence increases because your faith translates to hope as you lead.
And people are drawn to hope.
3) Get Some Rest.
Sometimes we overcomplicate things. We can overthink stuff and become exhausted.
You might just need to take a break and get some rest.
Your body needs time to rest and replenish, and specifically, your mind does as well.
Leaders exercise a significant amount of “brain” work, and your mind rests through a variety of ways such as:
- Change of pace (do something different)
- Meaningful conversation (not conflict-oriented)
When you have allowed your brain to “breathe,” you can think more clearly.
You can gain a clearer perspective about the truth of your circumstance and either let go of the worry or take action and do something about it.