August 25, 2013: “Why Do I Worry so Much?”

Posted on : Aug 22nd, 2013 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

There were times in my life when I spent more time worrying than I did living.  Before I fully came out as a gay man, I’d worry about what I was going to do if someone outed me.  At times I worried that I was “the only one.”  And after I discovered there was a whole wonderful gay community, I worried that I was coming out too fast for the very homophobic world and church that existed in those days.  There came a time in my life when I just got tired of worrying.  Worrying was wearing me down and eating up all my good energy.  I was spending way too much time and energy worrying about this, that and the next thing.  But you can’t just say to yourself, “I’m going to stop worrying” and expect that to work.  If you do, within minutes you’ll be worrying about whether you actually will be able to stop worrying!

Worrying isn’t anything new.  It was certainly around in Jesus’ time.  The disciples were always worrying about something.  “What are we going to eat?  What are we going to wear?  Where are we going?  Don’t you care that we’re going to be killed?”  Jesus must have been a very patient man or at least very wise.  His answer:

Stop worrying over questions such as “What are we to eat” or “What are we to drink,” or “What are we to wear?”  Those without faith are always running after these things.  God knows everything you need.  Seek first God’s reign, and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you.

Enough of worrying about tomorrow!  Let tomorrow take care of itself.  Today has troubles enough of its own.

“Enough of worrying!”  Great idea, but, sometimes I worry about answers like that.

In the Bible the cure for worrying is faith.  But you can still have faith – lots of faith – and worry.

Psychologists approach worry from a different perspective.  They tell us that worry comes about when we feel we are not in control of our lives – and want to be.  That’s sure true, BUT, we’re never going to be in control of our lives, at least not all the time, and some of us worry a lot more than others.  Dr. Stephen Diamond, who is a psychologist, wrote in Psychology today:

Ironically, worrying–which is typically an attempt to anticipate and prevent bad things happening– tends to make one even more anxious, creating a never-ending and constantly escalating vicious cycle of anxiety-worry-more anxiety-more worry, etc. Why do we worry as much as we do? What exactly is it we worry about? And how can we worry a little less?

First and foremost, we fear the future. The unknown. We worry about what will happen to us, our family, our partner, our business, our money, our home, our possessions, our country, the world, etc. We live in a universe which is inherently unpredictable, dangerous and deadly. Indeed, anxiety (and the worry it generates which generates more anxiety) can be understood as an acute or subliminal awareness of life’s insecurity.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/201011/essential-secrets-psychotherapy-why-we-worry-and-what-we-can-do-about-it

I think the answer to “Why do I worry so much?” is found in both the Bible and in psychology. Those who worry less are those who both have faith in God and trust God; and have faith in themselves and trust themselves.

Next Wednesday (Aug. 28) marks the 50th anniversary of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I have a Dream” speech delivered during the 1963 “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”  Dr. King had a different speech written for that day, in fact he was delivering what he wrote but he wasn’t connecting with people like he wanted to.  So he set aside his prepared speech and delivered the “I have a Dream” speech.  The material in the speech wasn’t new.  The speech was based on sermons he had preached in various churches.  But on that day, in that moment, something transformational happened and everyone who was there could feel it.  The worry and fear that was so real in the lives of those who gathered there melted as Dr. King revealed a vision of the future that was attainable.  It was Dr. King’s trust in God and faith in himself that spread throughout those at the March and all across our country.  Worry and fear was replaced by hope and self-assurance.  Those same gifts are what we need today!

Blessings,

Dan

 

~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Matthew 6: 24-34

Jesus teaches us to trust in God and stop worrying so much!

Jesus taught:  No one can serve two superiors.  You will either hate one and love the other, or be attentive to one and despise the other.  You cannot give yourself to God and Money.  That’s why I tell you not to worry about your livelihood, what you are to eat or drink or use for clothing.  Isn’t life more than just food?  Isn’t the body more than just clothes?

Look at the birds in the sky.  They don’t sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet our God feeds them.  Aren’t you more important than they?

Which of you by worrying can add a moment to your lifespan?  And why be anxious about clothing?  Learn a lesson from the way the wildflowers grow.  They don’t work; they don’t spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in full splendor was arrayed like one of these.  If God can clothe in such splendor the grasses of the field, which bloom today and wilt and die tomorrow, won’t God do so much more for you – you who have so little faith?

Stop worrying, then, over questions such as “What are we to eat” or “What are we to drink,” or “What are we to wear?”  Those without faith are always running after these things.  God knows everything you need.  Seek first God’s reign, and God’s justice, and all these things will be given to you.  Enough of worrying about tomorrow!  Let tomorrow take care of itself.  Today has troubles enough of its own.

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