I watched a health report about the influence of “worrying” on people. There are a lot of us who actually worry ourselves into all sorts of health problems. One health professional said we spend much of our thought-life on ourselves. We want things to turn out right for us (and our family and our friends). Yet we’re obsessed with how we’ll be affected by decisions, events, and circumstances. Some people literally talk themselves into trouble and sickness.
It is one thing to be genuinely concerned about important stuff – getting good enough grades to maintain your scholarship, graduating from school, healing emotionally over a broken relationship, dealing with chronic illness in your family, or finding a good job. But it is another matter to be filled with anxiety about things that may cause inconvenience, delay, or discomfort.
If we are not careful, we can gradually become overwhelmed by lots of stuff that we probably can’t change anyway. The doctor in the news report I saw said, “We take care of ourselves as if we were our only child.” We worry, worry, worry, and it is all about us.
Think about how much time you spend narrowly focused on yourself. If you are thinking about how you look, the project you struggled to complete and turn in on time, what people may think about you, your choice of clothes, the conversation with a colleague, being habitually late for appointments, and second-guessing yourself – all the time – you could make yourself sick with worry. Doesn’t God promise us some sort of security about who we are?
Read Psalm 55:16-23.
I remember when I met Barbara in graduate school and became interested in her. After a few months of hanging out after church, I invited her out for a meal. We enjoyed spending time together. I asked about our friendship going to the next level and she said she was busy with school, had a boyfriend back home, and was not interested in anything but she and I being grad buddies. I reluctantly said okay. A month later I found myself fretting about our upcoming graduation and the fact I may never see Barbara again. I was losing sleep, wrestling with my feelings of infatuation and love for this young lady. Normally I am an even-keeled kind of person, but I found my stomach tied into knots and my mind filled with anxiety. Why did I feel this way about her if I could do nothing about it? Finally one night, I cried out to the Lord, “You promised me peace that passes understanding, and I want that more than the worry and stress I have about this woman.” From that moment on, the Lord helped me get some focus back in my life and I was no longer anxious about what may or may happen between Barbara and me.
The apostle Paul said, “Do not worry yourself sick about things…pray about it and trust in the Lord who cares for you” (my loose rendering of Philippians 4:6-7). I had not been doing that about my interest in Barbara and it was literally sapping my strength and health. The Psalmist said, “Cast your care(s) on the Lord” (Psalm 55:22). It sure beats worrying.
Paul wrote Philippians from prison. Did you notice how much worry he expresses in his letter? Hint – none. How much joy and rejoicing does Paul model? Hint – lots. Are you anxious about things all the time? What does Philippians 4:6-7 tell you to do about it? Will you live that way?
Walk wisely. Worry and fretting rusts our trust in Him who is our anchor.
Love is a verb,