Why Worry And Stress?

Why Worry And Stress?

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34(NKJV)

There's so much going on in the world right now. Not only that, there's so much going on in our individual lives. On any given day, many of us have to balance the demands of our relationships with God, family, ministry, career, friendships, health, finances, community and so much more. It's impossible for us to give everything and everyone 100% of our attention and sometimes the demands exceed our capacity to meet them. That's when worry and stress enter the picture.

So what is stress in the context of this discussion?

"Stress generally refers to two things: the psychological perception of pressure, on the one hand, and the body's response to it, on the other, which involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory. Some stress is necessary for all living systems; it is the means by which they encounter and respond to the challenges and uncertainties of existence. The perception of danger sets off an automatic response system, known as the fight-or-flight response, that, activated through hormonal signals, prepares an animal to meet a threat or flee from it.

Lifesaving as the stress response is, it was meant to solve short-term, life-threatening problems, not extended difficulties such as daily traffic jams or marital problems. It generally takes some time for the body to calm down after the stress response has been triggered. Prolonged or repeated arousal of the stress response, a characteristic of modern life, can have harmful physical and psychological consequences, including heart disease and depression.

Psychology Today

According to the article, "The Effects of Stress on Your Body" from WebMD, consider the following:

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
  • Seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
  • Stress can play a part in problems such as headacheshigh blood pressureheart problems, diabetesskin conditions, asthmaarthritisdepression, and anxiety.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50%, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.

In other words, chronic stress is a huge problem in our society and it's directly affecting people's quality of life, making people sick, costing people money and stealing valuable time. It also consumes large amounts of mental, emotional and physical energy without causing any change in the situations that trigger the stress. In other words, it's like running on a mental or emotional treadmill for a prolonged period of time, sapping your energy but going nowhere.

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus addressed the stress epidemic. On the surface, when the scripture is viewed in the King James Version it seems like Jesus was telling us not to think about our needs. He repeatedly used the phrase, "take no thought" so it's easy to understand if someone assumes that He wants us to not think about things because God will take care of us. As a result, some people are irresponsible and don't take care of their business because they believe God will take care of it.

Some don't work but assume God will pay their bills. Some don't take care of their bodies but assume God will keep them healthy. Some don't prepare for big assignments but assume The Holy Ghost will simply do it through them. Some don't work hard because Jesus finished the work on the cross and human effort is futile. If the birds don't do anything and God takes care of them, why should we? That's what The Bible says, right?

However, the Hebrew word Jesus used was merimnaō which means, "to be anxious or to be troubled with cares". There's a big difference between being a responsible adult who solves problems by executing well thought-out solutions and someone who is anxious and troubled with cares. The former is what we should all be, the latter is what Jesus wants us not to be. When we worry, we expend energy yet do nothing to better the situation at hand. Hence, we make it worse. That's why Jesus told us not to worry.

His solution was two-fold; Seek first the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God which the Amplified Bible defined as His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God. In other words, when you do things God's way with God's heart, you have nothing to worry about because He takes care of your needs. Let's now explore that a bit. How do you seek God's Kingdom and His righteousness first? You seek God!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7(NLT)

Some mental health experts say that simply talking about your problems with someone else helps you to cope with them. I completely agree. However, that's great for your emotions and mental health but that doesn't solve the problems you're talking about in the first place. How about you take it a step further? Why not bring your problems to God in prayer? He's the only one who can solve them all and He's a pretty good listener. 🙂 He'll also reveal what to do and how to get it right which is exactly how Jesus said you'll get your needs met.

Tell God what you need and be thankful for what He has already done for you. Then, and only then, can you experience His supernatural peace which essentially cancels out your worries. He may not change your situation immediately but He'll change your heart and mind by protecting them from worry and fear. Once your emotions and thoughts are taken care of as His first priority, He'll get to work on your situation.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:6-7(NKJV)

Never forget that the all-powerful, all-knowing Almighty God lives inside of you as The Holy Ghost. (See Romans 8:9-11) In the middle of a storm, Jesus was sleeping peacefully in the boat while His disciples panicked. What did they do? They simply woke Him up and He put an end to the storm. (See Mark 4:37-39) What storm are you going through? Wake up the Holy Ghost inside of you and release His power and love and receive a sound mind. Don't panic, pray.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3(NKJV)

If you desire peace in your life, never let your problems dominate your thoughts. Keep your mind on Jesus, the problem solver.

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