Summary: Is what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6 reasonable: “Don’t be anxious about anything…?” When overcome with worry and anxiety we can either let anxiety knock us down like a bowling ball getting a strike or we can work through our anxieties and wo
Getting Through Worry and Anxiety
A small boy was struggling over his homework, and finally turned to his father and said, “Oh, what’s the use of going to all this bother of getting an education anyway?”
“Son, it’s mighty important,” the father replied. Before you’re too much older you’ll discover that in these days it takes a real good education to enable a fellow to worry about the conditions all over the world.”
We all have twin enemies that plague us from time to time, worry and anxiety.
In the 1990s Americans were polled on their top anxieties. The top ten listed were:
2. Drug Abuse
3. Nuclear Waste
4. Ozone Layer
7. Federal Deficit
8. Air Pollution
9. Water Pollution
My hunch today, 2008 the top two anxieties would be the economy and terrorism.
For 45 years Ann Landers had a syndicated advice column in hundreds of newspapers across America. She would receive 10,000 letters a month from people with problems asking for advice. When Ann Landers was asked what the number one problem was she said it all boils down to anxiety. People are anxious about losing their health, anxious about losing loved ones and anxious about life itself.
This past week I heard several people comment that they were hoping to retire but with losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars in their 401 K they didn’t know when they would be able to retire.
With the US government committing nearly a trillion dollars in bailouts people are still anxious about the future. This past week over 2 Trillion was lost in retirement portfolios.
Is what the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6 reasonable: “Don’t be anxious about anything…?” When overcome with worry and anxiety we can either let anxiety knock us down like a bowling ball getting a strike or we can work through our anxieties and worries.
During this past year many families have had their dreams and homes shattered by hurricanes. Their dream homes have ended up in a soggy pile of nightmares. How do you prepare for devastating circumstances? Life doesn’t fit our plans.
# How I worked through an anxiety attack –-- Carollyn Ellis in India.
What Anxiety Is - “Don’t be anxious. Stop worrying about everything.” Webster defines anxiety as a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an anticipated or impending situation or a strong fearful concern. Worry in Greek means to have a divided mind. The word worry is made up of two words, meridso to divide and nous, mind. James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Anxious in Latin carries the meaning of choking or strangling. When having an anxiety attack the person has trouble breathing and sleeping through the night. All joy and hope seems to be choked out of the person.
In Mark 4 Jesus pictured a farmer sowing seeds in four types of soil. 4:7 “Other seed fell among the thorns and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.”
The disciples asked Jesus to explain the meaning of the parable and Jesus said: “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” Mark 4:18-29
Worry and anxiety sprout like weeds and thorns grow up around the truth of god’s Word, choking away the life and peace it can bring.
We become anxious and worry when we forget God’s presence in our lives. We are more prone to anxiety when we eliminate prayer from our daily routine. Anxiety overcomes us when we subtract God’s infinite power and try to live our own puny efforts.
Short periods of worry and anxiety are normal, but long term extended worry and anxiety are debilitating.
What Anxiety Does
Anxiety distracts us so we lose focus on what is important in life. Anxiety siphons away our joy and makes us judgmental and negative.
One anxious person is contagious. As an old proverb says, “One dark cloud hanging around can cover a lot of sunshine.”
Anxiety steals our contentment. Anxiety steals our confidence. Anxiety steals our ability to trust God. Worry and anxiety are robbers of the good things in your life.
Proverbs 12:25, “An anxious heart weights a man down.” Pastor Chuck Swindoll says, “Worry works like bad cholesterol hardening the arteries of our spiritual hearts and clogging the flow of love and grace toward people.”
Getting Through Tough Times
We know that if God’s word tells us not to be anxious or worry about anything then God will help us work through worry and anxiety.
Philippians 4:4-7 We are instructed to not be anxious about anything and then we are given the resources ho how to work through anxiety. “…By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving presents your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”