Experts have estimated that forty percent of things we worry about will never even happen, thirty percent of things we worry about are things from the past, twelve percent of our worries are about our health (when nothing is actually wrong with us), and ten percent of things we worry about are too petty and insignificant to really affect our future. That means that only eight percent of the things we worry about legitimately deserve our concern and thought.
A few years ago, the Gallup organization asked Americans what they were most afraid of:
Number one on the list was snakes (51% of all Americans).
The second on the list was public speaking (40% of Americans).
In fact, a lot of people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of dying.
37% reported fears of heights
34% being closed in small spaces
27% were afraid of spiders and insects
21% afraid of needles and shots
20% afraid of mice
18% of flying on airplanes
Statistics prove that a vast majority of the things we fear never become a reality. And yet an unhealthy, destructive thought will occasionally pop into our minds and we will entertain it. We become professional movie producers and allow the movie reel inside our minds to captivate us. We go down roads that we should not go down. We think thoughts that we should not think. Because in our minds, sometimes these false fears can seem more real than anything else around us.
So what are we to do?
God’s Word encourages us to think on good things and stop fearful thinking. Look at what Philippians 4:7-9 says:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
I read these verses today and picked up on something new. It takes practice. It takes practice to put a stop to dwelling on fear and instead, to think on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute. Obviously, this means it will take some effort on our part. If anxiety and fear are a struggle for you…why not start small. Practice with one fearful thought which constantly pops into your mind. Try to take that thought captive and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your thoughts and mind. Replace the fearful thought with something good and positive.