Rotating Header Image

I Finally Stopped Worrying. Here’s How I Did It…


 

Catholic speaker Gary Zimak explains how he stopped worrying

I got to thinking the other day and I came to a surprising realization…

I don’t worry anymore!

If you have heard me speak or read my books, you’ll understand why this is a monumental occurrence. It is a well known fact that I have been a severe worrier for most of my life. While I credit my anxiety with drawing me closer to the Lord, the act of worrying was having the opposite effect. The more I would worry, the less I would trust God. Now, despite two years of full time work as a Catholic Evangelist (with no guaranteed salary and literally living month to month), I have found myself in a position that I never thought possible. I don’t worry anymore!

So, what changed? How was I able to finally break free from worrying? The answer will probably surprise you, as it did me. For many years, I tried to stop worrying. I made up my mind many times over the years that I was going to “Let Go, Let God”, “Be Not Afraid” and “Let Not My Heart Be Troubled”. And I failed, and failed again and failed many times after that. It wasn’t until some time not that long ago that I realized that I was trying too hard. I know that it sounds crazy, but the reason that I couldn’t stop worrying is that I was trying too hard not to worry!

Before you think that Gary has officially lost his mind, let me finish the thought. I was trying to stop worrying by using the “mind over matter”, “positive thinking” approach and that’s why I failed. Even though I supplemented this method with a healthy dose of prayer, Bible reading and the Sacraments I couldn’t stop worrying. Then one day the answer dawned on me. I was trying so hard that I wasn’t letting Jesus help me. As is the case with most people who like control, I was so determined to fix the problem on my own that I wouldn’t let anyone, including the Lord, help me. Once I stopped trying so hard and let Jesus do the “heavy lifting”, my worrying decreased dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I still experience fear and concern. These feelings are normal and can even be helpful, as they sometimes let you know that it’s time to take action. Worrying, on the other hand, is a useless and unproductive response to fear. While there are several correct ways to respond to fear, your overall objective should be to draw near to Jesus. He is the ultimate answer to any problem or difficulty that arises in your life.

If you feel that you’re too weak to give up worrying, you’re probably right. I’m in the same category. The good news is that the Lord knows that we’re weak and that we can’t just force ourselves to stop worrying. Instead, He wants us to stop trying to do it on our own and let Him help us. Take it from me, my friends, the easiest way for you to break free from anxiety is by focusing less on giving up worrying and more on Jesus. Doing this has made a huge difference in my life and has finally allowed me to stop worrying.

So where do you start? You start by speaking with Jesus daily and asking Him to take control of your life. Make it a point to read the Bible each day, even for a few minutes. The daily Mass readings are perfect for this. Additionally, receive the sacraments of Holy Communion as often as possible. Finally, turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you. As you grow closer to the Lord, your worrying will begin to decrease. If you need more assistance, I’m excited to announce that my next book, From Fear To Faith: A Worrier’s Guide To Discovering Peace (coming in August 2014 from Liguori Publications) will offer a step by step method for overcoming worry in your life. It’s a book designed for those of us who are weak and can’t do it on our own. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) for more details, including how to pre-order the book. I’ve also developed a new talk, “How To Stop Worrying TODAY” that I’ll be presenting in parishes around the county. Contact me to find out how to invite me to speak at your parish.

Don’t lose hope, my friends. I finally stopped worrying and you can too. Jesus is the answer and He is waiting to help you!

22 Comments

  1. Eliajah says:

    Hello Gary Zimak, thanks be to God that you are able to receive peace of God
    in your heart. I hope this will last forever.
    I will share you briefly before I say too much and blemish the gift of God.
    For a long I too was sever worrier and it robe my life in many ways. Yes I am young and healthy but until almost very recently I have not lived the life that is
    given to me. I am not going to reveal here, may be some other day, but the many worry I have had.
    In any case, what happen recently I have started to read St.Faustina’s “Divine Mercy in my soul.’ Guess what last Saturday , I have suddenly recognize my trueself. Suddenly I have kept saying I know my inner being. My mind and heart so clean, sin can not–I repeat sin can not–easily enter into the mind even if I test if am truly being healed from what ever impurity I struggle with. Suddenly
    I began to look into the person eye and love them for who they are: no judgement over the other how they look or speak or whatever…..just love flows in my heart and the joy never left me until now. And I have feeling that it won’t leave so easily. So the question for me now is that Jesus what can I give you? I am waiting for His call so I can answer Him to give Him the life He gave me. I just knew He is the foundation of my life and the objective goodness that exist. St.Paul said everything is created “for Him, in Him, and through Him.” I do not know how but Love and Truth exist. My only response is to keep my faith alive with His gift of grace everyday and everywhere. Praise be to His Name.

    So what am I saying here? I believe St. Faustina and all the saints knew it. Mercy is there be received and we must be open to Him. So I guess we have to keep up praying the Divine Chaplet every single day especially at 3 O’clock when Jesus died on the Cross. Sin and Death that puts Him in the Cross never won over his bubbling Holiness and Purity. So He wants to share His Life with us in our mind, heart, and soul over and over again so we may share His Divinity.

    I have to stop here but His Mercy compeles me to speak out as I am never joyful as I am now. Let’s keep praying and reverence for Mass as well.

    In His Name

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Thanks for sharing, Eliajah. I love the Divine Mercy devotion!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  2. Wade says:

    Thank you. Recently I lost my job at which point my worries fell away. It was an unexpected event, at which I realized that the Lord is taking control or rather gave recognition to His control. Worries evaporated instantly, I simply place each day in the hands of the Father and know that all will be accomplished.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      I can relate to your situation, Wade. My work as a full time Catholic Evangelist came about due to a job layoff. Even though I had a guaranteed income for 30 years, I didn’t trust in God’s providence. Like you, I try to place each day in the Father’s hands. As long as I remember to do that, I have peace.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  3. Wow, Gary! Congratulations. I am learning the same thing about anger. I can’t overcome it by focusing on it. I can only overcome it by trusting God in all situations. Your book sounds great. I also have a book on practical spirituality due out in the summer, called Trusting God with St. Therese. I’d be happy to review your new book on my blog, if you’re looking for reviewers.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Thanks for your offer, Connie. Your book sounds great too. Let’s keep in touch as it gets closer to the release of our books.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  4. Isaiah says:

    Thank you so much for this very nice piece. One book that really helped me to learn how stop worrying and regain peace of mind and heart is by Fr. Jacques Philippe entitled “Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart.”

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      My pleasure, Isaiah. Thanks for the book recommendation!

      God Bless,
      Gary

    2. Anne says:

      Isaiah, I also have just finished reading Fr. Phillippe’s book, “Searching for and maintaining Peace, A treatise on Peace of Heart”, I shouldn’t say that I have finished reading it, I may never finish because it’s a book I will keep reading over and over. It’s so gentle and comforting, for such a small book it contains all the advice
      we need to maintain peace in our souls. It’s at Amazon.

  5. Cate says:

    Dear Garry,

    I recently “discovered” (yes by the grace of the Holy Spirit) the Surrender Novena by Father Dolindo and now say it daily.Surrender like forgiveness is an ongoing process since the devil loves for us to be fearful. While it is difficult to let go one does have to wonder when we authentically surrender our all including free will into God’s hands what does the devli then have access to, to tempt?
    Peace

  6. jack says:

    Hi Gary,
    would love to change one sentence.

    “Finally,turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you.”

    change to..

    “Firstly, turn to the Blessed Mother and ask her to assist you.”

    The “Refuge of Sinners” must always be our first port of call.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Excellent point, Jack. Thank you for the reminder!

      God Bless,
      Gary

  7. Catherine says:

    Gary, I can totally relate to worrying. However, recently I have come to realize that if I pray for a release from worrying and then begin to worry again, that I am actually insulting Our Lord, that I really don’t trust Him. I find that saying the short Divine Mercy ejaculation, “Jesus, I trust in You”, that my worrying has decreased a lot.

    1. Gary Zimak says:

      Very good point, Catherine. “Jesus, I trust in You” is one of my favorite prayers. Thank you for mentioning it.

      God Bless,
      Gary

  8. Your book looks really interesting! As a lifelong worrier unfortunately passing on to a couple of my kids, I found peace in the trustful surrender to divine providence & the sacrament of the present moment – rather than the secular mindfullness. God bless.

  9. Frank says:

    Thanks you helped me with decision making by your words to give me more trust for my personal life and also for the ministry of Sanctuary House which Our Lady personally in 1951requested of me by her visit of which my bishop several clergy and nuns and various people worldwide have gotten to know about hope you will too.

    Frank
    Sanctuaryhouse.tumblr.com

  10. Charles o'connell says:

    I have anxiety disorder. I decide not to be anxious. I awaken scared. I ask help from our Blessed Lord in His abandonment at Gesthemane, which St. Sir Thomas More considered, in his last book written in his own abandonment in the Tower of London, our Blessed Lord’s worst suffering, the spiritual-mental worse than any physical torture. Some days I awaken free from fear. I’ve learned that it’s a gift of grace on a Holy Day. Our Blessed Lord will never abandon us. Pray for innocents being murdered, that they may accept His Mercy and comfort.

  11. Ray Barney says:

    Thank you for the comments and the article. I also struggle with anger and temptation and realize it is a lack of trust in Jesus in a secular, sometimes hostile world. Sister Faustina never stopped trusting in God and went through terrible trials and illness. Much more than I am experiencing. Just passed pg #600 in her diary and am learning more about myself and God’s love and mercy for all of us each time I open it. The need to forgive as God has forgiven me is formost in my prayers as of late and I am getting better through the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy. Every temptation should help me get closer to God, it’s total submission that’s so difficult….

  12. Pattie says:

    Gary, this is one of my biggest struggles, and areas of growth lately!! I am pretty comfortable about death and illness (I am a nurse) but for reasons that reach back to childhood, I have always been terrified about “being in trouble” with a teacher or boss. Being called into an office makes me physically ill, as I am always convinced I am about to be fired AND will never find another job. Only very lately, through prayer, reading, Christian music, and more prayer and blessings have I come to realize how much I am dis-respecting the Lord and making myself SICK for no reason at all. It is all in the Lord’s hands, and I have prayed and vowed not to act or react like a small child to disapproval at work. Glad I found your work….and this really spoke to me. Thanks & prayers!!

  13. Sharron Wendt says:

    I, too, worried until hubby and I retired and decided to move to a smaller home in a smaller town. As I packed to move I realized how much time and effort we (mostly I) had spent on acquiring “stuff” and a place large enough to “display” these THINGS. The more I got rid of the less worried I felt. I realized much of my stress and worry was to accumulate and display for the impression of others. The more I rid myself (hubby, too) of “stuff” the more I realized I had more time to enjoy the things I really needed and appreciated. Accumulating and caring for all that was interfering in appreciating the REAL things in life: Jesus, hubby, kids and grandkids. Reducing stress may be just ridding a life of unnecessary worries and THINGS. Works for me! God bless everyone here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>