Will worry be the death of you?

July 7, 2008

by Rev. Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

There were two men shipwrecked on an island. The minute they got onto the island, one of the men started screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die!”

The second man was propped up against a palm tree and acting so calmly, it drove the first man crazy. “Don’t you understand? We’re going to die. Why aren’t you worried?”

The second man replied, “You don’t understand. I make $400,000 a year.”

The first man looked at him, quite dumbfounded, and asked, “What difference does that make? We’re on an island with no food and no water. Why aren’t you worried? We’re going to die!”

The second man answered, “You just don’t get it. I make $400,000 a year and I tithe 10 percent to the church. My pastor will find me. Don’t worry.”

I think I can be so bold to suggest that everyone reading this article has a tendency to worry about some things from time-to-time. I would assume that we all have some pet worries: finances, relationships, friends, what other people think of us, marriage, health, and etc. Indeed, at the present time, we all could have several reasons to worry: the price of gas, low home values, the economy, and the wars we are fighting.

There are, however, three problems – three big problems – with worry: worry is not helpful, it’s unreasonable, and it’s not healthy.

Worry is like racing your car engine when you’re in neutral. You create a lot of smoke and noise, but you don’t go anywhere.

Worry exaggerates your problems, makes mountains out of molehills, and often causes us to overreact.

Our bodies were simply not made to worry; it’s unnatural. Plants and animals don’t worry. The only thing that worries in all of God’s creation is people.

You and I weren’t born worrying. We’ve learned it. You’ve had to practice to be good at it. The good news, however, is that if worry is learned, it can also be unlearned.

How can we unlearn worrying? I believe it begins with this question: “Who is in control of my life?”

Is the God who loves you and cares about every detail of your life in control of your life? Or are you?

Are you seeking to be the boss of your life? Worry, you see, can be like a warning light. Whenever we start to worry, the light should go off: “WARNING! You are trying to control too much!”

Worry is always an attempt to control the uncontrollable, and most of the things of life are uncontrollable. Our answer is found in a relationship – a relationship with the God made known to us in Jesus Christ.

There is no pill that can make you stop worrying. There is no seminar, tape, or book that will make you stop worrying. There is no spiritual experience you can have that will cause you to never worry again.

Worry, and the antidote to it, is going to be a daily choice, sometimes hourly, sometimes moment-by-moment, a choice in which you say, “Am I going to believe that God is the lord of my life, or am I going to be my own lord?”

Who is in control? If I’m in control, I have a ton of stuff to worry about. However, if God is in control, it’s God’s problem and God can handle it.

Why not take Jesus up on his gracious invitation, “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

May all joy and peace be yours in believing.