Over 13 million Americans worry every day. The worries range from national, state, county and town issues. People worry about school, grades, war, the economy, home finances, children, grandchildren, their job, retirement, and so much more.
But worrying causes problems. One third of all visual problems are caused by worrying. Worriers get sick more easily. Worriers don’t get good-quality sleep. Worriers have a harder time digesting their food. Most worriers have difficulty trusting others.
Many years ago, the director of the YMCA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had worried himself almost to a nervous breakdown. He was working about 85 hours a week while worrying about the myriad of problems that surrounded him. He couldn’t sleep well and was having a difficult time making proper decisions. Sad and depressed, he finally went for counsel.
The doctor said, “George, you’re going to ruin your health – or kill yourself – with worry unless you back off. I know it will be difficult, but you must cooperate with God. You must turn all your worries over to God – and let them go – and learn to trust your staff.” George always thought his feelings and actions were directed by the Lord, so that surprised him.
After thinking it over, George took a long walk in the woods. Sitting down against a tree, he got out his pencil and paper, and wrote:
Dear God, I hereby resign as Executive Director and General Manager of the Universe.
“Wonder of Wonders,” George said, “God accepted my resignation!” Now eating and sleeping better, within days his strength returned and he could think more clearly. And within a few months the YMCA operations improved dramatically.
Worrying dishonors God and actually generates problems for ourselves. Why? Believing that we must personally control everything, we take our focus off God and place the focus onto ourselves. But note this:
40% of things we worry about never happen.
30% are in the past, and cannot be changed.
12% are about criticism.
10% are about health problems (and worrying makes it worse).
Only 8% may be legitimate.
God’s prescription for our worry and stress is in Philippians 4:1-8.
Verse 1: Stand Fast in the Lord. (Accept God’s teaching as your foundation for life.)
2: Live harmoniously with others. (Avoid disputes and arguments.)
3: Help others. (Remove your focus from yourself.)
4: Rejoice in the Lord in every way. (Live cheerfully. Romans 8:28 says that everything works for our good IF we cooperate with God.)
5: Let your moderation (mild manner, appropriate actions, gentle and understanding attitude) become manifest in your everyday life.
6: Be careful for nothing. (Don’t be concerned over what you can do nothing about. Train yourself to stay focused on the issues at hand (Rom. 12:2). Through prayer and thanksgiving, talk with God about your concerns. Converse with Him as you would a friendly counselor. Talk or pray aloud; it is okay.)
7: The Peace of God, which no man fully understands, shall keep your hearts and minds.
(Keep = Protects or guards you in the presence of the enemy. HOW? We must REFUSE to worry, but place our lives in God’s hands. God can’t protect us if we refuse to cooperate with Him.)
8. Whatever is true (not hidden or imagined, but obvious),
Whatever is honest (worthy of honor and respect),
Whatever is just (right; innocent, without speculation. Don’t waste time guessing about people’s motives),
Whatever is pure (sacred, consecrated, not mixed with evil. Seriously pray about the books you read, the movies you watch, and your daily activities),
Whatever is lovely (friendly toward God, accepted by God. If God doesn’t approve of something, it isn’t lovely: leave it alone),
Whatever is of good report (reputable, wholesome),
If there be any virtue (excellence, moral goodness, high regard. This again warns us to stay away from movies, videos, books, magazines and activities that promote ungodliness),
If there be any praise (something commendable),
Think on these things (reckon, meditate, dwell).
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
This is how we live without worry. This is how we live without stress. We must not attempt to take God’s place as the Executive Director and General Manager of the Universe – or even of our own lives. We don’t have the credentials for the job. And we must live within the boundaries that Jesus would accept.
Stop worrying; seek help if necessary.