Me, Worry?

Aug 07, 2009

Richard Gotthardt

One day during the first week of fourth grade, I was suddenly seized with an overwhelming sense of panic and anxiety.  So intense was this feeling that I asked the teacher if I could go home- now!  Stomach in knots, pulse pounding, mind racing with chaotic thoughts, I felt like I was coming apart.  I didn’t know what to call these terrifying sensations, I just knew I wanted them to go away, fast.  At the same time, I felt deeply embarrassed, ashamed of myself for being such a “baby”- big boys don’t need to run crying home to mom!

This marked the beginning of a lifelong battle with what, many years later, I came to understand as a panic/anxiety disorder- much of it biological in origin, much like diabetes or other physical ailments.  But even though I’m pre-disposed to certain physical responses, I’ve had much to learn in understanding and addressing the emotional and spiritual aspects of worry.

One thing I’ve learned is that many people (including me) carry around a pile of guilt about how much worrying they do.  We know we shouldn’t and we’ve been told countless times that worry doesn’t solve problems, it just creates new ones.  Great! One more thing to worry about!  Now I’m worrying about worry!  Maybe we’ve heard the biblical commands that tell us not to worry.  So now we know that when we’re worrying, we’re disobeying God.  More worries- now we’re sinning by worrying!

Seems to me that an open and honest discussion about worry, without piling on guilt or shame, is in order.  We live in a time in which worry and anxiety have become a chronic feature- so much so that we may not even realize how much we’re carrying around.  They’ve become the background static of our lives.  So let’s talk- and listen- to what Jesus has to say about worry.  And let’s trust that He has some helpful- and timely- insight for us.

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