Dr. Phil would say, “How is that worry working for you?” The truth is we all struggle with anxiety. It comes from the worries in our life. Then along comes a verse like this – Philippians 4:6 – “Don’t worry about anything.” For many if not most of us, we look at this verse and it seems to create more stress in our life. It says don’t worry about anything and you know you can’t do that. So you begin to worry about the fact that you worry; you’ve added that to your worries.
We all struggle with worry. My mom called a worrier being a worrywart. Worrywarts come in all shapes and sizes. It’s not just that nervous person that you think of. Many times the worrier is the quiet, subdued person. Many times the greatest worriers are the people who seem like they have everything under control. But behind the scenes, they’re constantly worried about keeping everything under control.
In this article, we’re going to look at how to reduce worry in our lives. Let me give you a list from a top Christian psychologist of some of the indicators of worry in our life. Twelve things indicate that you are a person who is prone to or who is going to struggle with worry consistently.
1. Do you tend to dwell on problems? 2. Are you easily upset by small annoyances? 3. Do you feel insecure about the future? 4. Do you feel out of touch with God? 5. Are you naturally critical? 6. Do you exhibit physical symptoms like headache or backache? 7. Do you find it hard to accept defeat? (Like the first seven have already related exactly to you – that kind of defeat in life) 8. Do you feel burned out? 9. Do you find loose ends hard to handle? 10. Are you extremely time conscious? 11. Do you constantly rehash past events in the middle of the night? 12. Are you defensive and confrontational?
Who of us does not have some of those on that list?
There is a story in the Bible of Jesus and His disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. In this story, I see at least two things. FIRST I see the CAUSES of worry. If you’re going to begin to let go of worry from your life you have to understand what causes it. Be honest about where is this coming from. SECOND the CURES for worry. What are some of the things that we can allow God to do in our lives to free us from this worrying problem that we struggle with?
Let’s begin with some of the worries causes.
Matthew 8:23-24 “Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
There are some reasons they became anxious – the same reasons we do.
1. They became anxious because of the storm.
One of the reasons we become anxious and begin to worry is because of unexpected problems. When problems come into our lives, and they like storms can come so suddenly, it creates worry. This Sea of Galilee is in a natural wind funnel. So the storms come up suddenly, unexpectedly, and fiercely. Just like circumstances that can sweep over our lives. We start to think, where is the next one coming from? Who’s it going to hit next? So we begin to be anxious.
Some of you have had experiences like that, where the storms just keep coming. And because you don’t know where the next one’s coming from, you begin to worry thinking that somehow that worry will help keep the next storm from hitting. It doesn’t, but we think if we keep thinking about and watching for these storms (crisis – setbacks) we will be able to avoid them. It never works.
2. These disciples were not only worried because of the storm but because of the waves that were in their boat.
We worry not only because of the problems that are out in the future but also because of overwhelming circumstances in our life now. These disciples not only saw the storm on the horizon, they saw the waves in their boat. Be clear here: Many of these disciples were fishermen by trade. They’d been on that Sea of Galilee all of their lives. They understood that this was a serious, genuine problem that they were facing.
Sometimes the reason that we worry is not that we’re making up things. We have real problems. We have waves in our boat. Just turn on the TV or read the morning newspaper. The circumstances of life start to pile up and we become overwhelmed. Now it’s not just being overwhelmed by bad things. We’re also overwhelmed by a lot of good things. There’s so much to do in life. We have many responsibilities and opportunities, as well as obstacles.
And right now, many of you may be facing a difficult schedule or circumstance in your life. You’re anxious and you’re worried because you’re overwhelmed. After all, there’s so much to do. That’s why we worry – because we’re overwhelmed.
3. The disciples also worried because they were in this little boat on a big lake in a big storm.
We worry because we have inadequate resources.
We look at our lives and think, “I don’t have enough to make it through this time.” Do you think the disciples would have worried if they’d been on a cruise liner on the Sea of Galilee? No. It’s because of the size of the boat. Sometimes you look at the finances you have and think, “We don’t have enough money to make it through this problem.” Or how much strength you have: “I don’t have enough strength to make it through this storm.” When you feel like you don’t have the resources to take the next step inevitably you worry. The truth is when you have more money sometimes you do have less worry. Sometimes a long with more money comes less worry. You don’t have to worry about the bills anymore. The problem is, along with more money comes more worries about the more money. There’s maybe a five-minute window in between where you have less worry. In this world, we never have enough resources. We will never have enough money, enough time, or enough strength. We’re lying to ourselves if we think we’re ever going to have enough resources to reduce the worries to zero in our lives. It’s impossible. That’s why we worry: inadequate resources. My next article will be Part 2 HOW IS THAT WORRY WORKING FOR YOU?