Summary: If we can turn loose of the worry it will help us to take life as it comes and in so doing our anxiety levels will go down.
The 95-year-old woman at the nursing home received a visitor one day. It was one of her fellow church members, someone who thought very highly of the elderly lady.
“How are you feeling?” the visitor asked.
“Oh,” said the lady, “I’m worried sick!”
“What are you worried about, dear?” her friend asked. “You look like you are in good health. They are taking care of you, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are taking very good care of me.”
“Well, what are you worried about?” her friend asked again.
The lady leaned back in her rocking chair and slowly explained her major worry. “Every close friend I ever had has already died and gone on to heaven. I’m afraid they’re all wondering where I went.”
I am going to preface this morning’s message by telling you that this morning’s sermon is aimed at no one any more than it is aimed at me. I preach to myself at least as much as I preach to any of you. I always hope I get something from the message as I am going about my research. But, from when I first started planning this new sermon series, I knew today’s message would be one I needed to listen to at least as much as any of you need to listen to it.
Why? Well, I am a worrier. I get anxious over many things. Cindy can go to bed and the second her head hits the pillow she can turn off her brain and go to sleep. Most of the time, I just lay there. Sometimes I will lay there for hours with all kinds of ridiculous thoughts running through my brain. As often as not, I am getting anxious about something. And, way too much of the time I am worrying needlessly. Whatever it is that I am worried about never seems to come to pass.
I know I am not alone. There are many people in the world who are just like me. My friend Steve is also a worrier. One night he and his wife and Cindy and I went out to dinner together. He started talking about being a big worrier. Cindy said she rarely worries about much of anything. Steve’s response was interesting. I am not sure of his exact words but the following statement comes pretty close to the spirit of what Steve said even if it isn’t a direct quote. “That worries me that you don’t worry.” I told Steve I would be quoting him in a sermon. His response, “It isn’t that I don’t trust God, it is that sometimes I worry about God’s decision making process.”
While Steve was joking, at least to a degree, it would seem that many of us are that way. There are many, many people in the world that just aren’t happy if they aren’t worrying about something. And, while I am a worrier, I am not one who gets anxious constantly. I am not a toxic worrier. Toxic worriers are people who constantly obsess over everything that could possibly go wrong in life – to the point of paralysis. Research shows people with this level of anxiousness are 2 ½ times more likely to suffer heart attacks than less anxious people.