Worry is anxiety full-blown. Worry paralyzes people until they can’t do anything for fear that it will be wrong. The very word worry comes from the Old English word that means “to strangle.” It strangles the very life out of us. There may be more significant sins than worry, but few are more disabling and destructive.
Here are five reasons why worry is counterproductive.
Worry Is Needless
Randy Reid, a 34-year-old construction worker, was welding on top of a nearly completed water tower outside Chicago. Reid unhooked his safety gear to reach for some pipes when a metal cage slipped and bumped the scaffolding on which he stood. The scaffolding tipped, and Reid lost his balance. He fell 110 feet, landing face down on a pile of dirt, just missing rocks and construction debris.
A fellow worker called 911. When paramedics arrived, they found Reid conscious, moving, and complaining of a sore back.
Apparently, the fall didn’t cost Reid his sense of humor. As paramedics carried him on a backboard to the ambulance, Reid had one request: “Don’t drop me.” (Doctors later said Reid came away from the accident with just a bruised lung.)
Sometimes we resemble that construction worker. God protects us from harm in a 110-foot fall, but we’re still nervous about three-foot heights. The God who gives and sustains life can be counted on in the smaller issues of our lives.
Worry Is Senseless
Most of us are familiar with the poem:
Said the robin to the sparrow:
‘I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so.’
Said the sparrow to the robin:
‘Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no heavenly Father,
Such as cares for you and me.’
While it is true the birds do not sow, reap or store in barns, they build nests for their families, scratch for food and yank worms out of the ground. But they don’t worry about next year’s worm crop. They sing while they work and live day by day. And God, day by day, provides for them.
Worry Is Useless
Once upon a time, there was a man who worried all the time. He worried about his job, his health, and the economy. He worried about whether he worried too much. A woman co-worker chided him for worrying all the time. “It just doesn’t work,” she said.
“What do you mean, it doesn’t work?” he replied. “Sure it does! Nothing I worry about ever happens!”
Worry changes nothing. Although we pride ourselves on being practical people, worry is perhaps the most impractical thing we do.
If worry changed anything, it might be justified. But there is no evidence that it improves anything for good. Worry is useless. Even more, the evidence indicates that worry makes things worse. It wastes our energy. It exhausts us. We seldom get the restful sleep we need. It impacts our appetite. We eat less, and what we eat is less beneficial to our bodies because worry throws off our digestive system. It skews our mental attitude. We think negative thoughts leading to inner turbulence, fearfulness, lack of confidence.
Worry Is Faithless
A quick glance at the headlines in today’s paper will convince us that there is much in this world to worry us. Nuclear war. Hunger and famine. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Gas and heating oil prices. Wildfires. The list seems endless. As long as the focus of our attention is on these headlines, we will worry. But when our perspective is eternal, we trust God to give us what we need.
The great prayer warrior, George Mueller, who started an orphanage and kept is funded through prayer alone, once wrote, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Worry can be a signal to redirect your faith. It can be a built-in reminder for you to get better acquainted with your heavenly Father.
Worry Is Godless
Worry is an affront to God. It is a practical denial of what we say we believe. When we worry, we align ourselves with godless people. We deny God’s values. We, therefore, live as though we, too, were godless. Consequently, we reject our heavenly Father. A Father who has promised us, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11 NIV).
Worry cannot live in the presence of God. It cannot breathe in the atmosphere made vital through a relationship with our heavenly Father.
Therefore, stop worrying.