Don’t worry? Is Jesus serious? How on earth can I stop worrying?
“Don’t worry. Be happy.” — simple lyrics to a popular song a few years ago and an impossible dream for many people like you.
What does worry look like?
Most people think of childhood as a time with less responsibility, less worry, and less fear. Unfortunately, that may be changing. Mental Health Professionals who work with young people say they are seeing signs that children are becoming more and more fearful. Dr. Karen Pierce, a child psychiatrist at Chicago’s Memorial Hospital says, “These kids are often what we call thermometers, sort of the pulse of what’s going on.” Therefore when the numbers of children being treated for anxiety goes up, it is a sign that more Americans are facing underlying fears as well. People are worried about war and terrorist attacks, on top of the usual concerns such as, paying bills and providing for their families. Other organizations have also noticed an increase in anxiety. The nonprofit organization for youth called Seeking Harmony in Neighborhoods, or ShiNE, has noticed an increase in fear, confusion, and worry. A teen from New York posted this message on the ShiNE website, “Think of a chemical cloud above my school!!! Bomb threats? Think of it. Are we prepared for war? Are we?” Even college campuses report an increase in anxiety with the numbers of students treated for anxiety disorders up as much as 7 percent since 1996. Pierce says, “We need to create a sense of trust in their own mini-environment. How do you come up with words in simple ways to say, We’re safe?”
–Associated Press, Experts: Youth Exposing Nation’s Anxiety, by Martha Irvine, March 17, 2003
What worries employees the most:
- Losing job: 19 percent
- Company going out of business: 13 percent
- Losing employee retirement savings: 12 percent
- Losing employee benefits, such as health insurance: 10 percent
- Physical security at work: 9 percent
- Company relocating: 4 percent
Source: Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Council of Public Relations Firms survey of 671 randomly selected SHRM-member human resource professionals.
Citation: Darryl Haralson and Frank Pompa, “USA Today Snapshots,” USA Today (10-08-02)
According to a Fall 2001 national poll taken by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research: Only one in five report they often feel hopeful about the future; seven in ten reported such feelings in a comparable 1990 national survey.
Citation: Marilyn Elias, “Proud to be American, Even with the Jitters,” USA Today Online (10-11-01)
Percentage of medical office visits made for stress-related symptoms: 60-90
Citation: Harvard Business Review, 11-12/94. “To Verify,” Leadership.
Threatened layoffs at work. Drugs and weapons in the schools. We have every right to be fearful, right? Maybe not. In Scared to Life (Victor), Douglas Rumford cites a study that explains why we shouldn’t allow fear to rule our lives:
- 60% of our fears are totally unfounded;
- 20% are already behind us;
- 10% are so petty they don’t make any difference;
- 4-5% of the remaining 10% are real, but we can’t do anything about them.
- That means only 5% are real fears that we can do something about.
Citation: Marriage Partnership, Vol. 12, no. 2.
Don’t worry? Is Jesus serious when he says that? Yes. Jesus’ teachings are very practical. He was careful to describe for us the kind of life God created us to enjoy. How?
We need to know Jesus personally and listen to his voice carefully through meditation.
- Recognize his loving care in nature
- Believe in his personal knowledge and understanding of your situation
- Read and reread his teachings in the Bible
Talk to Jesus honestly in prayer.
- Tell him your concerns and fears.
- Trust him to meet your needs.
Share Jesus’ love passionately.
- Sending gifts
- BETTER YET:
- Listen when someone talks — especially about his or her worries.
- Talk to Jesus about others’ worries
- Look for opportunities to talk about Jesus to those around you
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