Winning Over Worry
t's Monday morning. The weekend is over. The alarm clock blares out its hideous jangle and suddenly you are snapped into the world of reality. First comes the struggle to get out of bed, then the rush to get to school or work, and then comes the stress of trying to juggle all of your seemingly endless responsibilities.
Is this how your week starts? And aren't these pressures mild compared to the ones you face as the day and week wear on?
We live in a world of ever-increasing stress and worry with school, work, family, financial and social pressures. Not many people are free from worry of some kind.
Worry or anxiety is a major problem of contemporary society. In excessive amounts it can take years off your life.
Some people like to think that things don't bother them. "No problem," they say as they put on a brave front and reach for the aspirin or alcohol bottle to deaden their fears.
However, it isn't possible to deaden inner anxiety. It will reveal itself in many ways.
For instance, George withdraws when he is upset, hurt, or uptight. Susan talks endlessly to cover her anxiety. Bill chain smokes to avoid facing his. Harry attacks when he feels threatened. Jack dominates and Jessica procrastinates. Dennis is a constant complainer. Joan is a compulsive eater, Fred a compulsive drinker, Tom a compulsive worker, and Frank a compulsive gambler—all because of unresolved worry and anxiety.
Anxiety may also express itself in a physical way. Stuttering, abdominal pains, high blood pressure, a twitch, allergies, ulcers, nervous stomach, tension headaches—all have been named by doctors as symptoms of anxiety and worry.
Yes, sooner or later anxiety will win out. When one fails to talk out his worries, he will act them out in one way or another.
A relaxed attitude
lengthens a man's life.
Long ago the Bible pointed out that "a relaxed attitude lengthens a man's [person's] life."1 Jesus himself said, "Don't worry about things—food, drink and clothes ... don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."2 And the Apostle Paul wrote, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."3
However, it's one thing to know about God's peace and another to experience it. It begins with being able to see and admit your real fears, by facing and resolving them, and by learning to give them over to God—and not take them back.
The causes behind worry can be many and varied. The following are some of the major ones with some helpful tips for winning over them.
First: If anxiety is situational—that is, caused by adverse circumstances or too much work, I find it helps to list all my worries on paper. This is half the battle. I then eliminate the least important matters, work on the things I can do something about, and try to learn to accept the things I cannot change and stop worrying about them.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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