Last week I talked about fear, so I decided that I would take time each week to deal with an emotion that we often deal with. Emotions aren't good or bad morally. We tend to think of happiness or joy as good and fear or anger as bad; but in truth they are just part of the normal human experience. It is how we deal with them that can be good or bad. People can become so obsessed with being "happy" that they turn to drugs or an affair to find it regardless of the consequences. We also tend to think of anger as bad, but the Bible says "in your anger do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26) which means it is what we do with our anger that can be sinful...not the feeling itself.
Worry is not actually an emotion, but is what we do with our fear. We fear that something bad might happen to our child, for example, and we allow that fear to turn into worry. We are all prone to worry at times over different things. We might worry about our financial situation, about our safety or even about the state of the world when it comes to things like politics or a pandemic.
Jesus talks about worry a lot. His basic idea is this, worry doesn't help. In Matthew 6 Jesus gives a long sermon on the topic of worry and tells us that worrying can't add even a single hour to your life (some translations say a single inch to your height). Basically he tells us that worry doesn't do anything. Worry doesn't change anything...so why waste our time and energy on it?
What should we do instead? Well, a few things
1. Pray: I know this is the cliche answer; but it works. When you start to worry, turn instead to God in prayer. Ask for his help for your spirit. Ask for him to watch over whatever it is you are worrying about. Put it into his hands.
2. Do something proactive: if worry doesn't help, do something that does. If you are worried about money, then spend some time working on your budget. If you are worried about your weight, go workout. Be productive.
3. Do something: I find that when worry starts to creep in, I shouldn't just sit around or else worry will overpower me. So do stuff. I clean, I make dinner, I mow the grass...I do something and it helps take my mind off my worry.
I hope that this was helpful, and will be helpful to you when worry starts to set in. Next week we will talk about anger, an emotion I know a lot about (I grew up with a bad temper) and see how we can work to overcome our anger with God's peace.