Worry & anxiety - Hope 103.2

Worry & anxiety

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsFriday 7 Feb 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


About worry Vance Harvner said,’Like a rocking chair,it will give you something to do,but it won’t get you anywhere.’ Another person rightly commented: ‘Worry is the advance interest you pay on troubles that seldom come.’

In spite of today’s profound scientific advancement,many still haven’t found peace of mind. It seems that worry and its bedfellow,anxiety,are plagues of modern society. Both are killers.

According to Ken Anderson,’Modern medical research has proved that worry breaks down resistance to disease. More than that,it actually diseases the nervous system ─ particularly that of the digestive organs and of the heart. Add this to the toll in unhappiness of sleepless nights and days void of internal sunshine,and you have a glimpse of the work this monster does in destroying the effectiveness of the human body.

An examination of five hundred patients in a British survey showed that more than one third of these patients’ visual problems were caused by emotional tension.

Often we say ‘No worries’,but worry ourselves sick ─ literally. And get ulcers not because of what we eat but because of what is eating us.

Interestingly,too,another survey of some five thousand university students showed that worriers get the lowest grades.

The news that worry and anxiety are trouble makers is nothing new. Three thousand years ago the writer of Proverbs in the Bible said,’An anxious heart weighs a man down… and a heart [or mind] at peace,gives life to the body,’ or as another version says,’A relaxed attitude lengthens a man’s life.’ (Proverbs 12:25 & Proverbs 14:30)

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Norman Vincent Peale points out that ‘The word “worry” is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning to strangle or to choke. Peale then suggests that ‘A certain well controlled carefreeness may be an asset. Normal sensible concern is an important attribute of the mature person. But worry frustrates one’s best functioning. In other words,worry and anxiety choke out the joy of living.

As Peale indicates,there is a difference between concern or healthy worry,and anxious worry. It is normal to worry and be concerned if we lose our job,when our children don’t come home on time late at night and haven’t phoned to tell us where they are,or when we are having marital problems or other relational conflicts.

The problem is when the worry goes beyond concern and is out of proportion to what has happened,or when the worry causes us to live in a constant state of anxiety. Usually,this is when the present situation we are worrying about has triggered and hooked into unresolved issues from the past. The worry and anxiety are symptoms of this. They are the fruit of the root which can go back to problems or fears which the conscious mind may have long since forgotten.

We worry about making decisions for fear of making wrong ones. We worry about the future for feat of what it might or might not bring. We fear being rejected,abandoned or left alone,being over controlled or out of control,or a score or more of other things that cause us to be anxious ─ all of which have to do with unresolved issues from the past ─ often from childhood.

For others,considerable anxiety is caused by false guilt ─ such as feeling guilty when you take time off to relax ─ or by being a perfectionist. These,too,have their roots in the past.

On the other hand,there are some things that ought to cause us to worry. For example,when we take on too many responsibilities,when we push ourselves too hard to get more money than we need. The real issue is why do we do these things? The anxiety is a symptom. It is nature’s warning signal ─ a blessing in disguise if we heed it.

Unfortunately,there is no simple cure or quick fix. Causes can be complex. There are,however,a number of practical steps we can take that will help.

Pay attention to the proper diet,and do aerobic type exercise at least three times a week. Get adequate rest. Sing. Laugh a lot. Remember,’he who laughs,lasts!’ and ‘a merry heart is good medicine’. (Proverbs 17:22) Relax ─ ‘take five’ every day to do deep breathing. Make time for family and social life. All are basic to healthy living and relieving anxiety ─ and a relatively easy way to start.

Many of us have repressed supercharged,negative emotions (some have been bottled up for years) that get triggered by present circumstances and are at the root of many anxieties. Expressing and releasing these feelings with a trusted friend or counsellor ─ not just talking about them or your problems (which can keep you stuck in them) ─ is essential.

Any unresolved relational conflicts from the past or present are also at the root of much anxiety. These,too,need to be resolved n a constructive way.

Next take an inventory of your life. List all the responsibilities you have and place them in order of priority. Be realistic about what you can handle and let the rest go.

As considerable worry and anxiety are caused over finances,budget your income and expenses carefully. If you tend to buy on impulse or too much on credit,it will help greatly to destroy some,if not all of your credit cards.

Also evaluate your legitimate personal and family needs and make sure these are being met in healthy ways.

If a person’s worry and anxiety has been a long-term problem,he or she may need professional counselling to resolve the causes.

Another person will find relief by participating regularly in a twelve step recovery program.

Practice praying the serenity prayer: ‘Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,the courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.’ Then do something about changing the things you can.

Finally,and what helps me,Is to trust my life and circumstances to God. For one thing,when things aren’t going well and I can’t see what I need to do and am prone to worry,I pray until the storm passes. ‘Dear God,I choose to trust you in this situation no matter how I feel.’ In time my feelings catch up with my choice to trust God and the worry gives way to calm.

If you trust God I am confident he will do the same for you.