I know that worry isn’t a poplar subject. In fact, in Christian circles, worry is a dirty word, a sin, a thing to be avoided at all cost! So join me if you wish, as I process what God is teaching me about worry.
Yesterday our sermon was on worry. I sat in the pew and said to myself, “Julie, you can half listen to this one….You don’t really worry about much.” I know that never happens to any of you, so you all can probably half read my post. Maybe the realization I had about worry will grip you half way through too.
So what is worry? In church or at a ladies breakfast the very mention of it will earn you some, “Oh girl, you worried? You know worry is a sin, right?” type looks. Those looks make us feel ashamed of our worries, so we start to call them by more acceptable names. Ever used any of these words to explain your feelings?
“ Oh, I am just so concerned about ….”, “It just made me a little anxious.”, “It was agonizing!”, “Sally just overthinks things….”, “I just get so worked up..”, “I’m just mulling it over.”, “Don’t stew about it, Phil.”, “I am just a little stressed out over…..”, “I am not going to lose sleep over it.”
Everyone of those underlined words are synonyms or words that mean the SAME as worry. They are the safe words we use to describe something, that as Christ-followers, we know we should not do.
Worry is caused by a noisy soul. A soul that wants things, and they don’t have to be “bad” things that we want. A soul that likes to know what is going to happen. A soul that doesn’t like to be surprised. A soul that wants to be in control. A soul that is fighting God every step of the way. A soul that is intently focused on the here and the now. Are you starting to see yourself as a worrier? I was, wait, I am.
Worry, anxiety, fretting, concern, stewing….. comes from these root reasons….
….. It happens when we have thoughts about the possibility of not getting something we want or need here on earth. For me, this looks like: “Will there be enough money to pay rent?” Money is a big deal for our family right now. With three years of unemployment, funds are tight. If side jobs don’t happen. There is no money. I can share testimony after testimony of God’s provision, and how we have not yet missed a rent payment, but this question is at the back of my mind. … every. single. month.
….. It happens when you have distressing thoughts about the possibility of losing something that you want or need here on earth. For me this looks like: “Will we lose the house?” I am not going to lie, I wonder often if families can be called to a life of homelessness. You see, the need we have for a roof over our head, is not a bad thing. It is not a sin to desire a house to sleep in. Each month I wonder, ponder, mull over, for some length of time, what I will need to sell, how we will all sleep in the suburban. I do not want to lose my house. About here in the sermon, I was starting to get real uncomfortable in my seat…..
…..It happens when you have disquieting and perhaps preoccupying thoughts about something you DO NOT want or need to happen in your day-to-day life. No one wants to be robbed. No one wants to lose a child. No one wants to lose a parent. No one wants to be unemployed. No one wants to be homeless. There are so many things that happen in this world that are not good, and we do not want to have a single one of them happen to us or our families. I didn’t want my dad to die. I don’t want my kids to live far away. If we let them these thoughts can become paralyzing and keep us from doing the work we need to each day.
I leave you with a few statistics.
- 40% of the things we worry about, are never going to happen.
- 30% of the things we worry about are things from our past.
- 20% of the things we worry about come from other people, places or things.
- 10% of our worries are about health issues.
- 8% of our worries are things that are based in reality.
Worry. It is real. We all do it. We may call it by different names… but we all do it. Maybe by the time I am in heaven I will have figured out how to do it less, how to trust more… And maybe, just maybe, the next time I hear a sermon on worry, I won’t think I can half-listen…. I will know I need to be all ears!
More on the topic of worry…. coming soon.