Dealing with Worry

     Worry and Anxiety are huge issues in the U.S.  In a given year nearly 50 million Americans will feel the effects of a panic attack, phobias or other anxiety disorders.  Anxiety is the number one mental health problem among women and second only to alcohol and drug abuse among men  (Anxious For Nothing, Max Lucado, 5). Even followers of Christ are struggling with worry and anxiety.  In a large survey of over 100,000 Christians:  66% of Christian women say they worry most days. 56% of Christian men say they worry most days.   (Worry Free Living, Dr. Arnie Cole, Michael Ross, 46)   Psychologist Robert Leahy points out, "The average child today exhibits the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the 1950's" (Anxious for Nothing, 6).  This struggle with worry is a serious problem!  One author called worry a “toxic web of what if” (Worry Free Living, 16).   What if I get coronavirus?  What if I lose my job?  What if my business doesn’t make it?  These are legitimate concerns.  However, worry literally means to pull apart.  What worry does is pull apart our peace.  In a real sense it’s a form of low-grade fear.  Worry and anxiety can be complex; there are mental, spiritual, physical and emotional factors.  There may be times when people may need the help of a Christian therapist to resolve these issues.  But most of us could move into a deeper sense of peace if we would just heed the straightforward words of Jesus.      
     In His famous sermon on the mount Jesus Christ gives us practical wisdom on how to deal with worry.    
     In Matthew 6:25, 31 Jesus says:  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? 31So DO NOT WORRY, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?
     His prohibition of worry is important for us.  For most of us worry feels like second nature, an automatic reflex, even part of being a responsible adult.  By prohibiting worry Jesus forces us to face worry as the choice that it is.  If we are given a command by God, then with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can obey that command.  Worry seems like no big deal; but it’s really quite weighty.  One Bible commentator points out the magnitude of worry:   “It denies the love of God by implying that He doesn’t care for us.  It denies His wisdom by implying that He doesn’t know what he is doing.  And it denies His power by implying that He isn’t able to provide for our needs”  (Believer’s Bible Commenatry, Edited by William MacDonald, 1226).
      Author Louie Giglio says, “the key to living untangled from anxiety is not a plan, but a person.”  Max Lucado shares a sweet childhood memory that helps us here.  Each night about 10 p.m. his dad would make the rounds to all the doors in the house to make sure they were locked.  After completing his mission he would stop in the room of his two sons and say in essence, “Everything is secure, you can go to sleep now.”  What a great image of how our heavenly father is.  Please remember that we serve a Sovereign God, nothing comes into your life that God does not either send or allow.  This is both a hard and ultimately helpful truth. Our heavenly Father is all powerful and loving.  The character of God is where we put our trust.     
WORRY IS POINTLESS!  In Matthew 6:27 Jesus says,”  27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  It has been said, “Worry is like a rocking chair.  It feels like you are doing something or making progress but you’re not.”  A great exercise is to try and come up with what your worried about exactly three years ago today.  Most cannot.  Most likely whatever you and I worried about at those times either did not even happen or resolved itself, maybe even in a positive way. 
In  Matthew 6:33 “33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Just as a soldier who fights for his country does not worry about whether he will be fed; God takes cares of his soldiers as well.  We are His servants, let’s be about His business—loving and serving others.    
In Matthew 6:34 Jesus says,”34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  There is power in breaking our concerns into more manageable pieces.  For example, author Kyle Idleman tells about an amusement park in Texas where a roller coaster got stuck at the top for 45 minutes.   That would freak me out, but imagine if I knew I would only be stuck for 45 minutes. The knowledge that I only had to survive through 45 minutes would help tremendously. Break whatever you are facing into one day at a time.  The recovery community learned this principle a long time ago, but Jesus had it first!  The addicted person often can’t imagine staying sober for a lifetime, but they can see getting through today. 
     In conclusion, we are called to trust God.  Say it with me.  “God, I trust you.”  Say it again and again until you actually believe it.  Let’s be people marked by peace and calm.  Now that is contagious! 
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church