Summary: In this sermon, we explore three important questions about anxiety: what is worry, what causes us to worry, and what is the solution for worry.
A. The story is told of a man who said to his friend, “I’m really in trouble. I have a mountain of credit card debt, I lost my job, my car is being repossessed and my house is in foreclosure, but I’m not worried about it!”
1. “How can you not be worried?” Asked his friend.
2. “I have hired a professional worrier, and he does all my worrying for me,” said the man.
3. His friend replied, “That’s fantastic! How much does a professional worrier cost?”
4. “$50,000 a year.” “Wow, that’s expensive. Where are you going to get that kind of money?”
5. The man replied, “I don’t know, but that’s for him to worry about.”
B. How many people here this morning would like to learn to worry more? Anyone?
1. How many of us feel that our lives would be better if we could just spend more time worrying?
2. Whether we know worry as an occasional visitor or a constant companion, whether we find anxiety to be mildly uncomfortable or intensely painful, whether we experience worry as a slight distraction or a force that completely immobilizes, we all know we should worry less, am I right about that?
3. So, let’s be honest about it, we all are prone to worry from time to time.
4. Some people worry over the big things, some worry over the little things, but we all worry at times.
5. And for that reason, we need an anxiety makeover.
6. The good news for us today is this: God can help us to manage our anxiety.
7. Worry doesn’t have to dominate and destroy our lives.
C. Now, what I don’t want to do today is to convey the notion that dealing with anxiety is easy.
1. Comedian Carl Hurley relates the fact that it is almost impossible to throw away a garbage can.
2. He said that a garbage can is the one thing you can’t get the garbage man to take away.
3. You set it out there empty with the other full garbage cans, and there it sits when you return.
4. Worry is a lot like that trash can. We want it to go away, but it keeps hanging around.
D. I also don’t want to fall into the trap of giving simplistic analysis nor simplistic approaches to dealing with this subject.
1. Many of you remember Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 song that was a worldwide hit.
2. It was called, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The words are, “Here’s a little song I wrote, you might want to sing it note for note, but don’t worry, be happy. In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy.”
3. The song had a very catchy tune, and made you smile, but it is not a real solution to worry.
4. Another song that has a similar approach is the Elton John song from the Disney movie The Lion King.
5. The song is Hakuna Matata. The words are, “Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase. Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze. It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s our problem free philosophy. Hakuna Matata!”
6. Doesn’t that sound great? We just need to adopt a problem free philosophy, right.
7. Don’t worry, be happy. Hakuna Matata! Don’t you feel better already? I wish it was that easy.
8. Let’s ask and answer several questions about worry.
I. What is Worry?
A. Webster defines worry as: “to feel uneasy or anxious; to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; to fret.”
1. Webster defines anxiety as: “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. A state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.”
2. What we note in both of those definitions is that there is anxiety or worry that we might define as normal or mild, and there is anxiety or worry that is abnormal and severe.
3. Like other emotions that we feel, God has given us the ability to feel anxious.
4. There is a God-given need and function for this emotion.
5. All of us experience anxiety as a normal reaction to threatening, dangerous, uncertain or important situations.
6. Normal or mild anxiety, as I have labeled it, can enhance some people’s function, motivation, and productivity. We might say that such a person works well under pressure.
7. So, some anxiety is to be expected and can be helpful.
B. But there is the other kind of anxiety that we note in Webster’s definition of worry and anxiety.
1. This kind of worry consists of disturbing thoughts focused on fear and danger. This becomes a state of apprehension that cripples the person.