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Archive for the ‘Worry’ Category

Coping with Worry

A few years ago a report conducted by a Mental Health Committee had this to say – half of all the people in our hospital beds are there because of the effects of worry.

Mental distress can lead to all kinds of health problems – headaches, heart trouble, ulcers, depression, digestive disorders, and yes, even death. When we add to that list, the mental exhaustion of nights without sleep and days without peace, then we get a glimpse of the havoc worry plays in destroying the quality and quantity of life. Worry is bad for us.  Worry has no nutritional value for the body or for the soul.  An estimated

Worry

40% of things we worry about are future possibilities that will actually never happen;

30% are things from the past which can’t possibly be changed;

12% are about our health – which gets worse with stress;

and 10% are too petty and insignificant to matter. 

That means that only 8% of the things we worry about legitimately deserve our thought and concern.  Most worry is irrelevant and does an enormous amount of harm. 

Jesus said: 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 your life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?… So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-27; 31-34)

People may say to us, “Don’t worry, pull yourself together” or “Don’t worry be happy”.  All simply said, but much harder to accomplish.  But what happens if we listen to Jesus’ advice to us “Don’t worry, seek God’s will first.”

Sometimes we live as if Jesus had said: Seek first all the other things in life that everybody else seeks, and then the Kingdom will be added to you. 

He didn’t say that.  He said: Seek first the Kingdom.  Everything else comes second.  

So, based on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:33, what if today you were to do a really radical thing?  What if you were all to say:

I’m going to start as if each day is a blank slate.  I’m going to begin it by devoting myself to what matters most, seeking God’s will, and then see if what Jesus said is true, that “all these other things will be added to me.” 

If our heart is in tune with God, if our heart seeks God and his will, we have nothing to worry about.  This doesn’t mean that we will be free of trouble, after all we may be a special people but we are not a protected species, rather it means that God will be with us in the middle of our trouble, to uphold us and to drive away our fear.  For many of us the struggle with worry will be an ongoing battle, but we can be assured that this is not one that we fight alone, if we: Seek first the Kingdom of God.

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You can do all sorts of things in a minute – you can waste it;  you can send a tweet; make a comment on facebook; switch the kettle on; share a hug; tell someone you love them; or you can wait a minute… But what happens when your minutes add up and you’re in a situation in which there is no end in sight?  

Take a minute out of your day … to watch.  Take a minute to pray.  Take a minute to think.  Take a minute to tell someone how much they mean to you.

 

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Just over 20 years ago, jazz singer Bobby McFerrin had a huge hit with the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”  The song struck a chord with people not just because it has a catchy tune, but also because it touches on a subject we all struggle with: worry.  His message may seem somewhat simplistic: Don’t Worry. Be Happy. And many would argue that in the real world, it’s not always that simple, especially when they feel that their worries are consuming their every waking moment.

Mr Worry

Mr Worry

The strange thing about worry is that instead of motivating us to take action, it often causes us to withdraw and do nothing except focus on our problems, and so our worry grows; becoming bigger, more oppressive and frightening.  It’s true, we can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can control our actions – how we respond.

Victor Frankl wrote, “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.   They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

When it comes to dealing with worry, we need to keep in mind a very simple truth: we don’t worry about things we’re sure of, only the things we have no control over.

Think of all the things in life you can never be sure of, the things you can’t control:  your health, the health of those you love, job security, the decisions your family make.   You may have some influence over them, but not complete control.   But the one thing you can control is how you will respond to the situations you face in life.  You can either face them with worry, doubt and self-pity, or with faith, hope, and love.

Paul said  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Phil 4:6-7)

Mr Happy

Mr Happy

When worry creeps in and takes up residence in your mind, don’t feel guilty about it, don’t think that your faith is inadequate,  just pray – chose to hand it over to God.   Because the one thing we can be certain of is that he will listen and respond.   

“And the peace of God, which transcends all our understanding, guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 

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