There's No Shame In Getting Health
I worry that my girls won’t have a good life. I worry that my fourteen-year old dog will be in pain and I won’t know it. I worry that the mechanic won’t tell me the truth about the strange noise my car is making. I worry about being able to clearly communicate what God has laid on my heart. I worry about expiration dates on milk. I worry about being late, paying too much, conflict and over-cooking chicken. I worry a lot. And my guess is that you do as well.
Worry is a natural part of the human experience. Nobody is immune to it. If you meet someone who professes that they never worry, start worrying that they are either a liar or they are delusional.
It’s not the act of worrying that causes problems. It’s what you worry about and the intensity of your worrying, that needs to be addressed. Now understand that the definition of worry that I am working from is, “To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” (Dictionary.com) Using this definition, all of the above worrying that I shared doesn’t even rise to the definition of worry. And my guess is that your examples of worry don’t as well.
By this definition, worrying is debilitating. By this definition, worrying becomes all encompassing, life-consuming and perspective altering. This is the worrying that we all need to be aware of. Especially if the source of this worrying is located in worldly, superficial things like fashion, popularity and nutrition. Not that any of those things are bad, in themselves. Yet, when worrying about such things rises to our definition of worry, they become the very things that separate you from your relationship with God. Which, by the way, is the definition of sin.
Maybe some well-intentioned follower of Jesus taught you that a good Christian never worries. Well, they were wrong. All human beings worry. We worry because God has set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Every human being understands that there is something more to life. We just don’t know what that something more happens to be.
This gap creates a vacuum in our understanding of our everyday lives. And humans hate vacuums. Thus, we worry. To worry or not to worry isn’t your question. Your question is if your worrying is separating you from God?
The question isn’t if you will worry. The question is what will you worry about and what will be the intensity of your worrying? If you are worrying, using our above definition of worry, about the stuff of this life – food, clothing, money, popularity, etc. – then there’s a pretty good chance that your worrying is preventing you from having a healthy relationship with God. As well as with other people in your life.
The normal response to this realization is to simply stop worrying. Well, that’s impossible. So, you’re invited to adopt a better approach to your worrying.
I want to break in right here to let you know that tormenting yourself with or suffering from disturbing thoughts (the definition of worry) isn’t healthy. If you find yourself with this kind of debilitating, all-encompassing, perspective changing worry about God or anything else for that matter; I encourage you to seek help from a trained mental health professional. There’s no shame in seeking health. It sounds funny to say in this context, but don’t worry about what our culture thinks about mental health. Health is health. Whether it’s physical health or mental health. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
For all of us, who worry about things like I listed above, Jesus’ advise to you is this: Don’t worry about stopping your worrying. Simply worry about the right things. In other words, have your worrying transformed.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) You can’t stop worrying. So, you’re invited to worry about God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. Jesus makes it very clear that if you allow your worrying to be transformed in this way, all of the other stuff that you have been worrying about, will be handled. Or, at the very least, all of the other stuff that you have been worrying about, just won’t matter as much to you anymore.
So, go out there today and worry in the right way, about the right things!