Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Basic sermon about worry. Congregation participation at the end.

Worry 101

1 Peter 5:7


WORRY 101: Barry, Jerry, Larry, Mary, Perry, and Terry

Barry is sitting in the doctor’s office just waiting. He had some tests two weeks ago and today is the day that the results come in. He has a spot on his back that upon initial inspection looks a lot like melanoma. He let it go for awhile and now has to deal with it. All the tests. What if he has cancer? What if he has to have treatments that make him sick? Where is the money going to come from to pay for treatment? The questions roll around in Barry’s head and the level of worry increases. His anxiety grew and grew for two weeks and grew more as he sat there.


Today we are talking all about worry and anxiety. I know that technically worry and anxiety are two very different things, but for the sake of our time today, we will speak of them as though they are one and the same. I know they are not the same.

Worry is a verb which means “to give way to anxiety or unease and to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty and troubles.” Worry is also a noun which means “the state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual problems or potential problems.”

Words associated with worry and words we might use when explaining worry are: fret, to be overly concerned, to be anxious, agonize, overthink, brood, panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get stressed, to stew, torment oneself, distress, uneasiness, unease, disquieted in our soul, restlessness, nervousness, edginess, tension, apprehension, fear, dread, trepidation, misgiving, angst, butterflies in the stomach, the willies, and the heebie-jeebies.

WORRY 101: Barry, Jerry, Larry, Mary, Perry, and Terry

Jerry sits at his work desk at work absolutely stressed out and full of anxiety. His day started with bumper to bumper traffic on the highway. So many horns and so many bad drivers. There were two wrecks with fire crews and ambulances speeding by with loud sirens. Once he got to work the phone rang and rang. While his office phone was ringing off the hook with clients, various family members were calling and texting him on his cell phone. Then he had three meetings back to back to back with presentations. Emails came in all day long. People stopped in for appointments. It had been non-stop constantly one-after-another all day and as he sat at his work desk ready to go home, he felt full of anxiety and was worried about the bumper to bumper traffic on the way home not to mention the non-stop needs at home. His stress level topped out.

SOURCES OF WORRY AND ANXIETY… https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/healing-possibility/201111/anxiety-modern-plague

Anxiety and worry is one of our modern plagues. Most of us experience significant worry at one point or another. Some of us more often than others. What is the source of anxiety?

The first and most obvious cause of anxiety and worry is uncertainty. The unknown is a terrible thing and it produces worry in us. We understand our world by the way we move in it, by the way people respond to us, and how we can affect things around us. Any significant change that shakes the way we know our world and our place within it, like a natural disaster, the loss of a job, a death or a major change in our physical wellbeing, disrupts our sense of what is normal. If someone starts to act differently towards us, this may produce worry that something is disastrously wrong. Any change in how we live our lives and how effective we are can also bring worry. Uncertainty.

The second source of anxiety is over-stimulation. Our brains filter stimuli, focusing our awareness. Noise, music, conversation, touch, odors, sights can all feel overwhelming, and be experienced as too intense, uncontrollable and painful. I would call this anxiety more than I would worry. Stimulation winds us up and continuous stimulation keeps us wound up. The wind-up is physical as well as psychological. Muscles tighten into knots. Shoulders hunch. We live in a culture that is constantly stimulating. These sources of stimulation and the resulting wind-up can be addictive. Our bodies learn to make a habit of staying alert and being anxious. Stimulation.

The third cause of anxiety is the disconnection between the expectations of other people and our actual capacity to do what is expected. Unmet expectations cause worry. Expectations that are assumed but never talked about can cause anxiety. When we cannot perform to our own expectations we experience frustration and confusion, judging ourselves harshly in an attempt to meet a standard that is sometimes unrealistic. This gap between what we can do and what we feel we must do produces anxiety. Expectations.

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