Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Worry

I know that I've written a lot of late about anxiety and etc.  It was timely that our pastor preached on Sunday morning about worry.  She preached directly from this passage in Matthew 26:


Do Not Worry    25 “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 life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

In her  main message she addressed that some people tend to be more worriers than others, without getting into the details of genetic or prior experience predisposition.  However, I think she took the angle that most people would take, that worry is a free-will choice.

The pastor gave the example of a man she knows who is under deep distress (long story but about as much stress as you can imagine) and he reported that through it all he and his family slept fine and didn't worry because they trusted in the Lord.

My conclusion about the man is either a. He is one who never had a tendency towards worry to start with, or b. He did have a tendency to worry about the situation, but through discipline he was able to change those thoughts into more positive ones or c. He is lying.  I've learned that we Christians are pretty good fabricators when it comes to showing how spiritual we are.

She did share a great illustration.  Quoting from someone, and I can't remember who, she said worry is like a stream in your life that, if unchallenged, cuts a deeper and deeper path until all your energy flows into its trough. I do agree. The only point that I would challenge (and she may even agree with me on this point) is that some of us are born with that deep trough and we spend our lives trying to re-channel it. Others have had terrible experiences in their lives that have created that trough.

But like I shared a couple of posts ago, we do have choice and free will when it comes to shaping the role of anxiety or worry in our lives.  But I disagree in how easily we can do this.

I'm in the middle of an extremely stressful situation right now with my business.  I can not sleep well at night and have to take something to help me sleep.  No one on this earth wishes that they could change the way that stress effects me than I do.  I would run to the moon and back to change it.  I have done all the mind tricks and spiritual exercises (at one time memorizing 1/3 of the Bible), many hours in prayer . . . yet the tendency is still there.  But the struggle does bear fruit. If I had not struggled against the worry and anxiety, I would probably be in a mental institution by now.

But my point is, I've live a lot of my Christian life in guilt because of my anxiety.  When we are told that it is black or white, either you obey God and stop worrying or you sin and worry, you feel like a creep.  This is the point I stand against in this conversation.

I of course agree with the passage in Matthew but I disagree with how it is usually applied. Yes, we must read that passage over and over . . . and even memorizing it like I did at one time. We must meditate on it, but my point is, it will not cure us overnight. It is a life-long struggle and we must be honest with ourselves about our fate in this fallen world.  I'm not being a defeatest but a realist.

5 comments:

Jaimie said...

I had a mild panic attack this afternoon because my parents sent me an email criticizing an aspect of my spirituality/religion. It's so hard for me to stand on my own two feet and tell people to screw off. I can't wait until I'm 30 when they say this gets easier. You know, not caring.

jmj said...

Hmmmm. I'm well past 30 and not so sure it is easier, except of course the parent scrutiny thing. I have noticed, that when the stress is severe, finally you reach a (in a good way) point of not caring any more.

Anna A said...

Jaimie,

I'm not sure that it ever gets easier. You care about your folks and you care about your faith.

I remember how much I had to bite my tongue, when talking to my stepmother the year or so that I was bi-denominational. (That was the year I was equally active in both the local Catholic Church and my last Baptist one.) Fortunately, we were separated by a few thousand miles.

I hope that some day you will receive the same gift that I did, from my stepmother. Her last Christmas, she noticed and commented that I seemed more at peace with myself, than I ever had. (That was my first Christmas as a Catholic.) She never knew I had converted.

Jaimie said...

Anna,

That would be a gift.

TruthOverfaith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.