What to Do With Worry
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A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on worry (click here to listen). Afterwards I had several people tell me their situation, and how it has led them to extreme worry. I heard about job loss, major health issues, marital problems, divorce, parenting challenges, financial concerns, and dealing with a difficult employer or employees. After all these conversations, I realized something: life is stressful and all of us have something we can easily fret over. As we worry, we begin to harm ourselves.
There is a process to worry:
Think about it: worry starts with an uneasy feeling. You may be nervous, or something may just not seem right. Then our uneasy feelings lead to ongoing thoughts. These nervous feelings or anxiety begin to take over, and we go to bed and wake up thinking about the concern we have. The lack of sleep and the ongoing thoughts lead to torment where we are literally making ourselves sick as we worry so much.
A doctor once said, “You don’t get ulcers from what you’re eating, you get ulcers from what’s eating you.”
Proverbs 12:25 says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down.”
The underlining problem with worry is that we’re afraid. We’re fearful that our lives are spinning out of control, and we forget that God is in control.
Psalm 37:7-8 says:
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.”
The word ‘fret’ in Old English means “to devour, to eat, to gnaw into something.” The Hebrew word (charah) is the idea of growing warm and blazing up. Think of worry as a rat inside your soul, gnawing away. Think of Satan as an arsonist, setting little blazes of distress in your heart. King David is saying something like this in Psalm 37: “I have been young, and now I’m old (Psalm 37:25). I’ve seen many things, suffered many burdens, and learned many lessons. Based on a lifetime of experience, my advice is this: ‘Kill off the rats and put out the fires. Do not fret, it only causes harm (Preacher's Sourcebook of Creative Sermon Illustrations).’”
What do you worry about? What is keeping you up at night? Jesus tells us, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).”
Jesus has everything under control because He is God (John 10:30). He’s got this!
“You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon Him, for you are His personal concern (I Peter 5:7 – Phillips Translation).”