Winning over Worry and Anxiety, Part I
"Don't worry about things—food, drink and clothes ... don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."1
It's Monday morning. The weekend is over. The alarm clock blares out its hideous jangle and suddenly you are snapped into the world of reality. First comes the struggle to get out of bed, then the rush to get to school or work on time, and then comes the stress of trying to juggle all one's seemingly endless responsibilities. Or just the opposite may be true for those out of work.
Is this how your week starts? And aren't these pressures mild compared to the ones you face as the day and week wear on?
We live in a world of ever-increasing stress and worry with school, work, and family, financial, social, and relational pressures. Not many people are free from worry of some kind.
Worry and anxiety are major problems of contemporary society. In excessive amounts they can take years off your life.
Some people like to think that things don't bother them. "No problem," they say as they put on a brave front and reach for the aspirin or alcohol bottle to deaden their fears, worries, and anxieties.
However, it isn't possible to deaden inner anxiety. Unresolved, it will reveal itself in many ways.
For instance, George withdraws when he is upset, hurt, or uptight. Susan talks endlessly to cover her anxiety. Bill chain smokes to avoid facing his. Harry attacks when he feels threatened. Jack dominates, and Jill procrastinates. Dennis is a constant complainer. Joan is a compulsive eater, Fred a compulsive drinker, Tom a compulsive worker, and Frank a compulsive gambler—all because of unresolved worry and anxiety.
Anxiety may also express itself in a physical way. Stuttering, abdominal pains, high blood pressure, a twitch, allergies, ulcers, nervous stomach, tension headaches—all have been named by doctors as symptoms of anxiety and worry.
Yes, sooner or later unresolved worry and anxiety will win out. When one fails to creatively talk out his worries, he will act them out in some destructive way.
Long ago the Bible pointed out that "a relaxed attitude lengthens a man's life."2 Jesus himself said, "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes.... Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."3
And the Apostle Paul wrote, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus"4
However, it's one thing to know about God's peace and another thing to experience it. And as E. Stanley Jones said, "Worry is the interest we pay on tomorrow's troubles."
To be continued. See tomorrow's Daily Encounter.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to come to terms with my fears, worries and anxieties, and learn how to resolve these and trust more fully in You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Mathew 6:25 and 34 (NIV).
2. Proverbs 14:30 (NLT).
3. Matthew 6:25 and 34 (NIV).
4. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT).