9-22-19 W O R R Y - Tracy Wilson - Matthew 6:25- 34

Have you ever experienced anxiety or worry to the extreme that you can’t remember why you are worried, so now you are worried about what you are supposed to be worried about.  Some of us are worriers by nature.  We can’t help but worry about everything and let’s face it- it is human nature to worry but do you worry too much?  This was my life not so long ago.  You may be asking yourself what has changed in my life that I don’t worry about things any longer.  It is not that I don’t worry about the things that are important, it is that I have chosen NOT to worry about the things that are not important.

 

My grandmother was anxious by nature, so was my mother and yes so WAS I- being anxious was just a part of our lives.  My mother who is always worrying about something will say, why you don’t worry about these thing…or how can you not worry.  A few years ago I was diagnosed with Stage III Melanoma.  I did not express my fears or worries to anyone about how I felt about this cancer.  I  did not let my family know about my fears concerning this diagnosis so I would not upset them as they were already going through a lot dealing with this new.  My mother would ask- you act like this is not a big deal and why are you not worried about what could happen.  My answer to her is simple:  This is what I can control, right here in front of me; everything else is out of my control and this is no longer my concern.  So the question now is-- what is it that you CAN control.  If it is out of your control than it is not your burden to carry.  I know this was a vicious cycle I had to break. 

Recently there was a new study from Daily Mail that stated we are literally wasting years of our lives worrying.  The average person worries one hour and 50 minutes a day.  That is almost 28 days a year or five years of our lives that we spend on worrying. 

Here are the top ten things we worry about: 

  • Work- some people don’t have a job; some people worry that they are not meeting deadlines or want a better job

  • Money- believe it or not some people struggle to meet their daily needs or have to decide do I buy groceries and pay my electric.

  • Being Late- I have a recurring dream that I am late for work…I just can never seem to make it there on time.

  • A friend or relative’s Heath- we all have friends or family that we worry about their health or well-being.

  • Our Own Health- not only do we worry about our family and their health but because of worrying about all things, own health is now on the downslope.

  • Relationships- being human means we have to talk to other people and this means communications.  This is not always easy to master so we worry about how to deal with the people in our lives.

  • Missing a bus or plane- people who use public transportation or need to take a plane for a vacation or even work- can you imagine if they missed their bus or plane and the anxiety this may cause.

  • Not waking up to our alarm- How many people wake up during the night and check to make sure they set their alarm…Yes I am one of those people.

  • Our Appearance- Is there anyone hear that wakes up in the morning and says, well today I am going to just go to church like this. Ok maybe our children don’t care, LOL

  • Our Families Safety- As parents we do worry about our family and will stay up until they come home; check on them to make sure that are safe in their beds or call our loves ones and check to make sure they are doing ok and don’t need anything…

This study found that 84% of people lose sleep over worrying…I think we all can relate. 

Let’s talk about why we worry.  We go through life worrying because we feel a lack of control.  We have a fear of the unknown or the illusion that we are in control.  Did you know that when we tend to worry we develop illnesses; it steals our peace and success.  We gain nothing from the results of worrying.  How can we find joy in the present if you are worrying about your past or future?  Worry leads to heavy burdens, feelings of anxiousness and frustration.  When you worry 40% of the things you worry about never happen; 30% of the things have already happened; 12% of the worry is based on other people’s opinion of us; 10% of worry is needless health concerns and only 8% are ligament concerns.  Do you realize that the difference between worry and concern is a fine line and this concern can lead to worry?

Think about worry this way, worry is like a rocking chair- it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.  Another way to think of worry is to imagine someone is carrying around a suitcase full of junk that he doesn’t use.  If they complain to you about their aching back wouldn’t you suggest they drop the suitcase?  Well we tend to do the same thing…feeling troubled, tired and being pulled in all directions.  We hang on to our burdens because we THINK something bad might happen if we let it go.  I am sure we have all heard the saying Let Go and Let God.  Unfortunately it is harder than it sounds but with God’s help anything is possible.

Did you know there is a secret weapon that God will use to remove the worry out of your life?  Are you ready to hear this secret…it is called fasting.  When you hear the word fasting, what comes to mind?  I used to think- I cannot go all day without eating, if I am thinking about food all day then how I can I concentrate on the real reason to fast which is to strengthen my relationship with God.  Some may say, I don’t know a lot about fasting or fasting intimidates me or makes me uncomfortable; others may be saying, well I have tried fasting and is was not a good experience or maybe you are a person who already engages in regular fasting.  Fasting requires us to be focused on God in order to make it through the day.  God will use our fasting to give us incredible victories over worry.  In Matthew 6: 16-18 Jesus teaches us about fasting.  The scripture states “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and untidy so people will admire them for their fasting.  I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.  But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.  Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who know what you do in private.  And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”   Here are a few suggestions to help you as you consider fasting:

  • Identify why you need to fast- engage in a biblical fast for a spiritual renewal, guidance, healing, and resolution of a problem or just some additional grace to handle a tough situation.

  • Determine the type of fast- pray and ask God what type of fast you should do.  Should you fast from food an entire day, partial day or maybe fast from certain types of food.  Maybe you want to fast from your electronic devices or other compulsions that occupies your thoughts.

  • Determine the length of your fast- always pray and seek guidance from God; some fasting can last an hour to a day to even a month or longer.

  • Pray- the final step is to pray. Prayer is the key to fasting- fasting without prayer is just going hungry.
     

Remember- if you have decided that God is leading you toward a fast in order to deal with some deep seated worry, but you aren’t quite ready to give up food for an entire day, then a first step can be eliminating one meal and drink water or broth instead. 

We hear similar words from Jesus in Luke 12:22-24:  Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens; they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouses or barns; and yet God feeds them…Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  

Can we guess what other emotion ties in with worry- how about “impatience”?  Whenever worry enters our minds, we often grow impatient that life won’t turn out the way we think it should.  We may unconsciously say to ourselves- The Lord can’t handle it, so I’m going to worry for Him.  Worry can’t change our past or future but it can ruin the present.  Jesus says not to worry about food, clothes or basic needs.    Jesus taught an anxious free existence of simple trust in God for provisions.  Jesus gave his disciples comforting reassurance that God would provide for their needs.

In John 16:33- “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world”.  Jesus does not abandon us to our struggles but give us faith in God to replace the worry we have in our life.  I want you to ponder  this thought…Does worry mean our faith is too small or our view of God is too small.  Little Faith or lack of faith is used in the text five times in the book of Matthew.  The term refers to an act without faith during a particular incident.  If someone always lack faith it is described as “unbelief”.  The term faith reflects two ideas:  Trust: reliance upon the Lord and belief: affirmation of truths. 

Matthew’s concern with little faith is about lack of trust by a follower of Jesus who is in a specific situation rather than a failure to have basic belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Jesus wants his followers not only to believe in him, but also to trust, love and obey him.  Philippians 4: 6-7 scripture reads “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done…so this reminds us not to be anxious for anything but pray with thanksgiving.  In conclusion we need to focus on what is good; don’t focus on the darkness; devotion needs to be focused on us and God; don’t make life about here and now but what am I doing to look forward to eternal life.  I want you to think about these thoughts this week:

  • Continue to be in a relationship with Christ

  • Cast all your cares upon the Lord

  • Educate yourself of who God is because only he is able to take your burdens

  • Continually keep in prayer with God

  • Remind yourself of all the good things that have happened in your life and know that peace comes when you don’t worry

  • Live in the moment.  Remember the saying “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the number of moments that take our breath away.

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