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Be Free from the Worries That Weigh You Down.
If you’re trembling on a tightrope of fear and worry, get ready for the best trade ever: your cares for God’s calm.
What if faith, not fear, could be your default reaction to circumstances? Imagine being able to walk away from worry, conquer the need to control, get rid of guilt, and end if-only thinking.
That’s God’s offer. He wants to exchange your burdens for an abundance of mercy, gratitude, and trust. To replace striving and stress with a faith-filled life in which you’ll see God’s goodness, feel calm in chaos, and find peace through prayer.
Bestselling author Max Lucado understands what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by anxiety. Through unforgettable stories and biblical wisdom, he offers powerful tools to help you manage your fears and worries.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.90(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 130 million books in print.
Follow his website at MaxLucado.com
Read an Excerpt
Face Fear and Anxiety
There's a stampede of fear out there. Let's not get caught in it. Let others breathe the polluted air of anxiety, not us. Let's be numbered among those who hear a different voice, God's. We will incline our ears upward. We will turn to our Maker, and because we do, we will fear less.
Fight or Flight
It's a low-grade fear. An edginess, a dread. A cold wind that won't stop howling.
It's not so much a storm as it is the certainty that one is coming. Always ... coming. Sunny days are just an interlude. You can't relax. Can't let your guard down. All peace is temporary, short-term.
So you don't sleep well.
You don't laugh often.
You don't enjoy the sun.
You don't whistle as you walk.
And when others do, you give them a look. That look. That "are you naive" look. You may even give them a word. "Haven't you read the news and heard the reports and seen the studies?" Airplanes fall out of the sky. Bull markets go bear. Terrorists terrorize. Good people turn bad. The other shoe will drop. Fine print will be found. Misfortune lurks out there; it's just a matter of time.
Anxiety and fear are cousins but not twins. Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.
Fear screams, Get out!
Anxiety ponders, What if?
Could you use some calm? God is ready to give it.
With God as your helper, you will sleep better tonight and smile more tomorrow. You'll reframe the way you face your fears. You'll learn how to talk yourself off the ledge, view bad news through the lens of sovereignty, discern the lies of Satan, and tell yourself the truth.
Anxiety comes with life. But it doesn't have to dominate your life.
God's words of peace
Could you use some calm? If so, you aren't alone. The Bible is Kindle's most highlighted book. And Philippians 4:6–7 is the most highlighted passage. Apparently we could all use these words of peace, so let's go through these words slowly, letting each find its way to our hearts.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.
— Philippians 4:4–8
Five verses with four admonitions that lead to one wonderful promise: "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds" (v. 7).
Celebrate God's goodness. "Rejoice in the Lord always" (v. 4).
Ask God for help. "Let your requests be made known to God" (v. 6).
Leave your concerns with him. "With thanksgiving ..." (v. 6).
Meditate on good things. "Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise" (v. 8 NCV).
Celebrate. Ask. Leave. Meditate. C.A.L.M.
Be Anxious for Nothing
Chances are that you or someone you know seriously struggles with anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are reaching epidemic proportions. "The United States is now the most anxious nation in the world." (Congratulations to us!) The land of the Stars and Stripes has become the country of stress and strife.
It's enough to make us wonder if the apostle Paul was out of touch with reality when he wrote, "Be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6).
"Be anxious for less" would have been a sufficient challenge. Or "Be anxious only on Thursdays." Or "Be anxious only in seasons of severe affliction."
But Paul doesn't seem to offer any lee-way here. Be anxious for nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. Is this what he meant? Not exactly. He wrote the phrase in the present active tense, which implies an ongoing state. It's the life of perpetual anxiety that Paul wanted to address. The Lucado Revised Translation reads, "Don't let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst." The presence of anxiety is unavoidable, but the prison of anxiety is optional.
Anxiety is not a sin; it is an emotion. (So, don't be anxious about feeling anxious.) Anxiety can, however, lead to sinful behavior. When we treat our worries with inebriation or angry outbursts, we are sinning. For that reason, Jesus gave this word: "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with ... the anxieties of life" (Luke 21:34 NIV).
Some coping strategies are healthy; others are counter- productive. An important step for assembling good tools is identifying the bad ones. Which coping strategies do you use?
When I am anxious, I:
___ 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. working in the garden)
___ 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?
God is in All Days
Suppose the wife of George Frideric Handel came upon a page of her husband's famous oratorio Messiah. The entire work was more than two hundred pages long. Imagine that she discovered one page on the kitchen table. On it her husband had written only one measure in a minor key, one that didn't work on its own. Suppose she, armed with this fragment of dissonance, marched into his studio and said, "This music makes no sense. You are a lousy composer." What would he think?
Perhaps something similar to what God thinks when we do the same. We point to our minor key — our sick child, crutches, or famine — and say, "This makes no sense!" Yet out of all God's creations, how much have we seen? And of all his work, how much do we understand? Only a sliver. A doorway peephole. Is it possible that some explanation for suffering exists of which we know nothing at all? What if God's answer to the question of suffering requires more megabytes than our puny minds have been given?
And is it possible that the wonder of heaven will make the most difficult life a good bargain? This was Paul's opinion. "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
What is coming will make sense of what is happening now. Let God finish his work. Let the composer complete his symphony. The forecast is simple. Good days. Bad days. But God is in all days. He is the Lord of the famine and the feast, and he uses both to accomplish his will.
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" (Matthew 6:34 MSG).
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" (Psalm 118:24). You no longer have yesterday. You do not yet have tomorrow. You only have today. Live in it!
Everything is Secure
My father had a bedtime routine that makes me smile to think about. He loved corn bread and buttermilk. (Can you guess that I was raised in a small West Texas town?) About ten o'clock each night, he would meander into the kitchen, crumble a piece of corn bread into a glass of buttermilk, and drink it.
He then made the rounds to the front and back doors, checking the locks. Once everything was secure, he would step into the bedroom I shared with my brother and say something like, "Everything is secure, boys. You can go to sleep now."
I have no inclination to believe that God loves corn bread and buttermilk, but I do believe he loves his children. He over- sees your world. He monitors your life. He doesn't need to check the doors; indeed, he is the door. Nothing will come your way apart from his permission.
Listen carefully and you will hear him say, "Everything is secure. You can rest now." By his power you will "be anxious for nothing ..." and discover the "peace ... which passes all under- standing" (Philippians 4:6–7 RSV).
Meditate on These Things
It helps when we take our eyes off the problems and fix them on God. That's why Paul told us in Philippians 4 to meditate on godly things. Take a moment and list the things in the world — and your life — that are:
Of good report: ______________________________________
Walk Away from Worry
Imagine your whole life untouched by worry. What if faith, not fear, were your default reactions to threats? Envision a day, just one, absent the dread of failure, rejection, and calamity. This is the possibility behind Jesus' question, "Why are you afraid?" (Matthew 8:26 NCV).
Fear less Tomorrow
Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts. It will always knock on the door. Just don't invite it in for dinner, and for heaven's sake, don't offer it a bed for the night. The promise of Christ is simple: we can fear less tomorrow than we do today.
When I was six years old, my dad let me stay up late with the rest of the family and watch the movie The Wolf Man. Boy, did he regret that decision. The film left me convinced that the Wolf Man spent each night prowling our den, awaiting his preferred meal of first-grade, red-headed, freckle- salted boy. My fear proved problematic.
To reach the kitchen from my bedroom, I had to pass perilously close to his claws and fangs, something I was loath to do. More than once I retreated to my father's bedroom and awoke him. Like Jesus on the boat, Dad was sound asleep in the storm. How can a person sleep at a time like this?
Opening a sleepy eye, he would ask, "Now, why are you afraid?" And I would remind him of the monster. "Oh yes, the Wolf Man," he'd grumble. He would then climb out of bed, arm himself with super-human courage, escort me through the valley of the shadow of death, and pour me a glass of milk. I would look at him with awe and wonder, What kind of man is this?
Might it be that God views our storms the way my father viewed my Wolf Man angst? "Jesus got up and gave a command to the wind and the waves, and it became completely calm" (Matthew 8:26 NCV).
He handles the great quaking with great calm. The sea becomes as still as a frozen lake, and the disciples are left wondering, "What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!" (Matthew 8:27 NCV).
What kind of man indeed.
God's Word for Your Worries
"So don't be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows."
— Matthew 10:31 NCV
"I tell you not to worry about everyday life."
— Matthew 6:25 NLT
"Take courage. I am here!"
— Matthew 14:27 NLT
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul."
— Matthew 10:28 NASB
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom."
— Luke 12:32 NASB
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me ... I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."
— John 14:1, 3 NLT
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?
What situation or event triggered the anxiety?
How did this anxiety make me 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 that 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.
Want to win the war on worry? Begin with the admiration of God. Rejoice in the Lord's strength, faithfulness, and accomplishments. Rejoice in his creation, his incarnation, and his act of redemption. As you do, you reinforce your faith. Anxiety decreases as our understanding of the Lord increases.
Think of it this way. Suppose your dad is the world's foremost orthopedic surgeon. People travel from distant countries for him to treat them. With the same confidence that a mechanic changes spark plugs, your dad removes and replaces hips, knees, and shoulders.
At ten years of age, you are a bit young to comprehend the accomplishments of a renowned surgeon. But you're not too young to stumble down the stairs and twist your ankle. You are weeks away from your first school dance. This is no time for crutches. No time for limping.
Into the room walks your dad, still wearing his surgical scrubs.
"Dad, I'll never walk again!"
"Yes, you will."
"No one can help me!"
"No one knows what to do!"
"No, you don't!"
Your dad lifts his head and asks you a question. "Do you know what I do for a living?"
Actually, you don't. You know he goes to the hospital every day. But you don't really know what your father does.
"So," he says as he places a bag of ice on your ankle, "it's time for you to learn." The next day you have a ringside seat for a procedure in which he reconstructs a patient's ankle. He is the commandant of the operating room. He never hesitates or seeks advice. He just does it.
As the two of you ride home that evening, you look at your father. You see him in a different light. If he can conduct orthopedic surgery, he can likely treat a swollen ankle. So you ask, "You think I'll be okay for the dance?"
"Yes, you'll be fine."
This time you believe him. Your anxiety decreases as your under- standing of your father increases.
Here is what I think: our biggest fears are sprained ankles to God.
Here is what else I think: a lot of people live with unnecessary anxiety over temporary limps.
Excerpted from "Trade Your Cares For Calm"
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
Chapter 1 Face Fear and Anxiety 1
Chapter 2 Walk away from Worry 19
Chapter 3 Conquer Control 39
Chapter 4 See God's Goodness 59
Chapter 5 Receive God's Mercy 79
Chapter 6 Get Rid of Guilt 99
Chapter 7 Silence "If Only" 119
Chapter 8 Catch Calm 133
Chapter 9 Practice Gratitude 155
Chapter 10 Pray his Peace 173
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It seems like now more than ever there are so many things to worry about. Every day we are bombarded by more and more events that can easily stir up fear and anxiety in our hearts. Yet as author and pastor Max Lucado reminds us in his newest book Trade Your Cares for Calm God never intended for us to live this way. He wants us to exchange our worry for His peace. Trade Your Cares for Calm is a beautiful book filled with stunning photographs and a collection of great content from previously published books such as Anxious for Nothing, Come Thirsty, Fearless, and others. I appreciated the short excerpts and the combination of quotes, Scriptures, and Max Lucado's writings, making it easy to read little by little. I was also pleasantly surprised that the book includes many opportunities for personal reflection and journaling. I plan to keep this book on our coffee table for those moments when myself or others need some encouragement to let go of worries and look to the Lord. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I honestly think many of us struggle with occasional anxiety and bouts of worry in our day and age. Even though we know God is there, it isn't always easy to default to faith. Trade Your Cares for Calm by Max Lucado offers solid advice and encouragement to focus on God instead of fear. Trade Your Cares for Calm does take content from several of Lucado's other books on fear and enouragement and compiles some of his best tidbits into this inspirational book. There are 10 chapters of Lucado's encouraging words. Each chapter has Bible verses, gorgeous nature photos, and stories and tips on keeping worry under control. There are also pages to journal to help figure out why you are worried and how to start to think differently about your problems. The ribbon marker helps you keep your place so you know where you left off. Trade Your Cares for Calm would be a great book to keep or to give as a gift to someone facing worrisome challenges--medical struggles, financial problems, or most any other challenge in our society today. I like that this book has plenty of space to journal your answers to the thought-provoking questions. However, it is such a beautiful book that I wasn't sure I wanted to write in it so used a notebook for my answers. I highly recommend Trade Your Cares for Calm for anyone struggling with worry. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a postive review in exchange for the book