In a recent poll by Dr. David Jeremiah’s team this question was asked: “What is the biggest giant in your life?” The respondents gave six categories: worry 30%, fear 29%, loneliness 14%, anger 11%, and jealousy 3%.
Yes, worry is public enemy number one! We worry about our job or profession, the mortgage payment, our children, the chaos in the world, rising crime rate, and a hundred other things.
A definition of worry means “to divide the mind.” The person with a divided mind has difficulty perceiving, understanding, feeling, judging, and determining. Thoughts become jumbled, robbing us of peace of mind.
When I go to my family physician for a yearly checkup, one question the nurse asks is, “how is your stress level?” Physicians tell us that stress and worry can have a negative health effect on our bodies, making us tired, stressed, speed up the aging process, and could lead to depression.
Our bodies respond to anxiety the same way it reacts to physical danger. The “fight or flight” response is the body’s instinctive reaction to danger. The things that worry us cannot be dealt with by fighting or running away.
There’s no way to eradicate worry from our lives. The objective is to learn how to control it. Someone said, “the businessman who doesn’t know how to fight worry will die young.” The same is true for everyone, regardless of their position in life.
Most of our worries are unfounded and unnecessary. Robert Seashore wrote, “Successful people are not people without worries. They’re simply people who’ve learned to solve their problems.”
Everyone has problems. It’s the door for worry to enter, and it’s essential to learn how to solve them, relagating worry to a minor influence, allowing us to be more effective in our various responsibilities. Years ago, Earl Nightingale made this observation about worry:
Things that never happen 40%
Past things that can’t be changed by worry 30%
Needless health worries 12%
Petty, miscellaneous worries 10%
Real legitimate worries 8%
These percentages remain about the same today. In short 92% of people’s worries take up considerable time, causing stress and anxiety, and are absolutely unnecessary.
How can we learn to control worry? Here is some good advice: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV).
Apply this truth to your life and you’ll have strength for living to overcome worry.