Stew on This: Dealing with Holiday Stress? Below are Some Reasons Not to Worry
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
The holidays can induce large amounts of stress. So, it seems like an ideal time to address the topic of worrying.
According to a Sermon Illustrations website article, an average person’s anxiety or worry is focused on:
40% — things that will never happen
30% — things about the past that can’t be changed
12% — things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — about health, which gets worse with stress
8% — about real problems that will be faced
The Bible teaches that you can overcome worrying. Worry (anxiety) gets a stranglehold on your mind and your thoughts. It chokes the joy, the happiness, and the peace out of you. Worrying is negative goal-setting. It’s thinking about and focusing on what you don’t want to happen. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus says three times, “Don’t be anxious.” He then gives five reasons not to worry.
5 Reasons Not to Worry:
- Worry is unreasonable –
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious 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?” (Matthew 6:25, ESV).
He tells you not to be anxious about this temporal, physical, material life. He focuses on anxiety over basic necessities, food and clothing, to make his point. The reason you’re not to worry about the externals of life (the material stuff you want) is because it is only a small part of life. Jesus asks, “Is not life more important than food and the body than clothes?” And the right answer is “Yes.” Life is more than just the physical and material. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you have, life is more than what you can put in your body, or put on your body. Jesus is saying it is easy to get so caught up in the externals of life that you forget about the rest of life. He’s saying, if it’s not going to last, if it’s temporary, don’t worry about it. Life is not contained in those things; it transcends all externals. Life comes from God and the fullness of life from Jesus Christ.
- Worry is unnatural –
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26, ESV).
Jesus makes His point that you are not made to worry, you are made to trust your heavenly Father’s care and provision.
Worry doesn’t make any sense, because it’s unnatural. The fact of the matter is that animals and plants don’t worry. There is only one thing in all God’s creation that worries – humanity. Everything else trusts God. That is the core issue with anxiety – trust. People ask, “Is God really capable of taking care of me, this situation, and this problem. Or do I have to take this matter into my own hands?” That’s what you do when you worry. You say, “God, this one is beyond you, so I’ll have to handle it.” Worry tires you out. It fatigues you. So much mental energy is spent on what you don’t want to happen and what it will mean if what probably isn’t going to happen does happen.
- Worry is unhelpful –
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:27, ESV).
In other words, it’s useless. All the worry in the world can’t even lengthen your life by one hour. Worry never moves you one inch closer to a solution. It’s like a rocking chair. You’ve got a lot of activity, but you’re not making any progress. If you worry about something you can’t change – it’s useless. Worry doesn’t make any sense. The only thing that worry changes is you – it makes you more miserable. Worrying cannot change the past. Worrying cannot control the future. All worrying does is make you miserable today. It ruins your life. It saps your strength. Jesus says that worry is useless.
- Worry is unnecessary –
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30, ESV).
Worry is unnecessary because God has promised to take care of you if you’ll just trust Him. When you worry, you lose sight of who God is. You forget that He is the creator and owner of everything so there is no need beyond what He can meet. In fact, one of the names of God common in the Old Testament is “Jehovah-Jireh,” which means the Lord our provider.
- Worry is unchristian –
“For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all,” (Matthew 6:32, ESV).
When you worry, Jesus says that even though you are God’s child, you act like an orphan. You act as if it all depends on you. You begin to take matters into your own hands and you begin to assume that you’ve got to figure it all out. Jesus is saying, “Don’t act like that. That’s unchristian. That’s acting like there’s no such thing as God.” Summed up in two words, worry is “playing God.” Worrying is assuming responsibility that God never intended for you to have in the first place. He says, “Relax and trust me.”
Worry is an issue of trust. How are you doing with anxiety and worry? Are you relying on your own strength or on the strength of the one who created you? Where in your life and ministry are you struggling with worry? Spend some time reflecting and then go to the Lord in prayer.