Last night’s debate left a lot of people feeling worried. But politics isn’t the only thing we humans stress over. Whether it’s providing clean water and the gospel to all of Liberia, bills, retirement, school, or relationships with friends and family, we seem to worry about nearly everything. While sometimes stress can help us survive a difficult situation, most of the time worrying is a waste of time and energy.
We’re all familiar with the symptoms:
- heightened senses
- increased heart rate and breathing
- higher blood pressure
- difficulty sleeping
This stress response system is very helpful when it comes to physical danger, but unfortunately, we have the same physiological response for purely psychological reasons.
Science tells us that constant stress can make us sick, temperamental, and can cut years off our expected life span. Stress has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, headaches, colds, obesity, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and premature death. This is dangerous. How can we make it stop?
Listen to this Radiolab episode on Stress to learn more about the stress and the stress response system.
For different perspective, watch this TED talk by Psychologist Kelly McGonigal:
Her main argument is that we can get better at stress (10:10):
“And the cool thing is that all of these physical benefits of oxytocin are enhanced by social contact and social support. So when you reach out to others under stress, either to seek support or to help someone else, you release more of this hormone, your stress response becomes healthier, and you actually recover faster from stress. I find this amazing, that your stress response has a built-in mechanism for stress resilience, and that mechanism is human connection.”
I agree. We can get a lot better at thinking about and dealing with stress. One way to do this is by connecting with other people and giving rather than receiving.
How to Stop Worrying and Love God:
- Live in the Moment
- Realize the Uselessness of Worrying
- God is in Control
These three steps are essential for relieving stress and bringing us closer to God and His children. The benefits of getting rid of unnecessary stress and worry are enormous:
- meals taste better
- confidence rises
- anger erodes
- social affiliation increases
Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous Serenity Prayer, made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous, is a great reminder of the importance of letting things go and living in the moment:
“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Here are 5 Bible Verses that you can turn to when you are feeling worried or stressed:
- “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12:25-26)
- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
- “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:7-10)
- “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Here’s Your Challenge:
When you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or worried, take a deep breath, realize that your stress is probably ineffective and counterproductive, and connect with God and others through study and prayer.
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Hey this is Todd Phillips, your online pastor and personal life coach. I’m going to talk today about a topic that a lot of people deal with—and that’s the topic of worry. How many of us worry all day every day? I cant tell you the number of people that are constantly dealing with this issue—worrying about things that are about to come or have already happened or what’s coming down the pike in their family or work life.
Whatever it might be, worry is a huge issue. So today, we’re going to talk about How NOT To Worry.
1. Live in the Moment
The first thing I want to talk about today is this—we need to focus on living in the present—living in the moment.
One of the biggest challenges that people have is being member of what I call the “If-Only Club.” Let me explain that. There’s a lot of people that will spend time looking at their past and saying things like, “If only I had finished college or if only I had stayed with that boyfriend or girlfriend, or if only I had lived or grown up with a different family.” vWe look back at all the challenges we see in our past and we are saying, “If only
that were different, then things would be better today.”
Or, and a lot of us deal with it this way, we look into the future and say, “If only I could get out of high school or college, if only I could get another job, if only I could have a different boyfriend or girlfriend, if only I could get out of this marriage. Whatever it might be, we’re members of the If-Only Club.
We worry because we can’t let go of the past and we worry too much about the future to really live truly in the moment while it’s still today.
And because of that, a lot of us don’t experience joy and the contentment and peace that God promises us this side of heaven. We’ve got to learn to live in the present. One of the greatest things we can do as human beings is to let go of our past—whatever challenges, whatever crises, whatever loss, whatever that might be back there is letting go of the past and not worrying so much about the future that we can’t find joy while it’s still today.
So living in the present.
One of the things that I hear from people by the way on that issue, is they go “Look, I wish I had more money, and then I’d be more giving.” [laughs] I hear that all the time. “I’m going to make a million dollars and then I’m going to be more giving.”
I promise you this: more of anything never made anyone more joyful; more money never made anyone more generous.
This is something that we all need to understand and it’s so important. If we’re not giving now, if we’re not generous now when we have nothing, we’re not going to be generous when we have everything.
Generosity is an issue of the heart, it’s not an issue of our bank account. So one of the things that we need to understand as we look back on our past and even look forward to what we think our future will be is that God has got things under control. He’s told us that we can let go of our past and He’s got control of the future so that we can live in the day while it’s still today.
2. Worrying is Usually Useless
The second thing to keep us from worrying is just to realize just how useless worry is. I want to read you a passage out of Luke Chapter 12. Jesus says this in verse 25 and 26:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you can’t do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Boy, I mean that hits me right where it counts. The bottom line is that there is a whole lot of things that we worry about that we absolutely have no control over. I remember woking at Dell Computer, this was many years ago, and I remember this gentleman who sat right next to me in a cubicle. He got up one morning right after the job started and went to the bathroom, and while he was in the bathroom, he heard someone, he heard a rumor from someone that there would be a new boss coming into our department, and this guy, my friend who sat next to me, hated this guy that he thought would be his new boss. So instead of working that day, he walked around all the different departments and talked to dozens of different people to find out if this new guy was going to be his boss, if the rumor was true.
By the end of the day, he worked himself up with so much worry, he believed so strongly that this guy was going to be his new boss, that he quit. HE QUIT. Well you know the end of the story, or at least you can guess, the guy that he thought was going to be his boss never came over to our department. He allowed himself to build up so much worry, this whirlwind of challenges that never really came to pass.
How many times do we worry about things, number 1 that we have no control over and number 2, that never come to pass?
I want you to be thinking about this. The fact that worry is just useless. It not only doesn’t add a single hour to our life or a single minute to our life. Science will tell us now that living a life of worry will not just take hours or minutes, but months, years, and even decades off of our lives. The uselessness of worry.
3. God is in Control
Number 3, and this is coming from my perspective. You may be watching this and you’re a Christ-follower, you know I’m a Christian if you’ve been watching these videos. I’m a Christ-follower or you may be a Christ-follower.
And what’s amazing about the fact of having a relationship with God is that we can realize that God is our provider. That we don’t have to worry about things because we know God is in control. One of my favorite passages is in Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7. It says this, and boy this is good, listen to this:
Don’t be anxious about anything, [Is that even possible? But He says it, He says ‘Don’t be anxious about anything.’] but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. [And then it says this] And the peace of God, [Don’t we all want peace?] which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.
What an incredible promise that as Christ-followers that if we have a relationship with God, that we don’t have to worry because we know God’s in control—that we can take our anxiety, we can take our fears, we can take our doubts, and our worries, and we can cast them over to God. We can pray with thanksgiving and make our requests to Him without worrying about the results because God’s in control.
Listen, if you’re watching this and you’re not a Christian, you wouldn’t call yourself by that name, as a Christian, maybe you’re wondering if God really exists. I want you to take a minute at the end of this video. You’ll see a link at the bottom of the screen. I want you to encourage you to go and listen to some other people who have a relationship with this God of the universe.
And I want you to just listen and think about what they have to say because if it’s true, if God really exists and He really wants to know you (and He does!), having a relationship with him can give you peace and contentment and take the worry away. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
So in summary, we need to live in the present (not be members of the If-Only Group); we need to realize the uselessness of worry (there’s a lot of things that are out of our control anyway—we can worry all day long, it won’t change it a bit); and finally number three, if we have a relationship with God, we can worry less because we know that God is watching over us.
Until we see each other next time, LIVE PASSIONATELY, GIVE GENEROUSLY, and IMPACT THE WORLD FOR GOD.[after video]
Hey, it’s Todd. Did you get something out the video you just watched? I really hope you did.
I mean, that’s my passion—to give you something that can be applied rightly to your life, right now.
Listen, if that happened, I want you to go right here, and just click on this subscription, this subscribe button, and it’ll take you straight to the page, and you can subscribe to my blog and get this content coming to your inbox every week.
I hope you’ll let me do that. I hope you’ll allow us to be on this journey together. See you soon!
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