Our Wearisome Habit of Worrying

We are good at worrying about things. When faced with a difficulty and we don’t know what to do, the tendency is to say, “Well, I guess I have something to worry about it!”

Do a Google search on the subject and you’ll come across a seemingly infinite number of articles on stress and anxiety. One is entitled “Stress Rates in America” and it records several kinds of anxiety that are caused by the workplace, obesity, and even people in our lives.

Our culture has come up with some solutions in the form on songs. Bobby McFerrin sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” More recently, Pharrell Williams (wearer of the large Arby’s looking hat) sings “Happy” with the lyrics: “Sing along if you feel like a room without a roof. . .”

Yes, we need a cure for anxiety since we are so good at afflicting ourselves with the sickness.

One interesting aspect to this dilemma is that it’s also possible to not only worry about things, but also people. I know this by personal experience and also by hearing some of you tell me things like “I’m worried about my daughter’s health” or “I’m worried about my granddaughter finding out what to do with her life” or “I’m worried about my parents and their ability to care for themselves.”

This malaise of anxiety is certainly not new, and it is highly contagious and spread easily and quickly by those of us who are prone to have an attachment to things (and people). Sometimes I wonder if we’ve been conditioned to feel guilty if we don’t have something to worry about.

Many of us suffer from “1st world problems” when we run out of gas in the car, or an appliance breaks down, or the DVR stops working for some reason and our children aren’t around to fix it. Things like that can create anxiety, but it’s not the same thing as wondering where our next meal will come from, not having clothes to wear, or having a place to live.

Jesus cautioned against worry. His solution? “More than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well” (Matthew 6.33 CEV).

Yes, we certainly ought to love and pray for one another. Actually, that is a large portion of the remedy for worrying over our friends and family members. Let’s love and pray for our friends and family members. Let’s also give thanks and appreciate the belongings that we have while we’re alive.

However, there’s one other component to liberate us from the chokehold of worry and fear. It involves trust in a heavenly Father who loves us and knows what our needs are before we ask of him.

Whatever it might be that’s creating distress or anxiety in your life, take time to turn that over to the Lord. I know it’s “easier said than done” but it’s also a good opportunity to ask ourselves why that is so.

Once we learn to seek the “Kingdom of God” and keep seeking after it, then we won’t have as much time to build our own kingdom.


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