Don’t worry about tomorrow!
Be anxious for nothing.
The Bible is full of these imperatives warning us about “anxiety.” I deliberately put that word into quotation marks because we use it in many ways, sometimes with much precision. Words like “anxiety” or “worry” might have a very precise meaning in a clinical setting (such as when you meet with a therapist) but a much looser meaning in everyday conversation. And then, of course, there’s all these statements in Scripture!
In part one of our message series, Anxious About Everything, I tried to untangle some of the confusion. Philippians 4, which we’ll look at more closely this Sunday, was our springboard. I said that we could describe the Bible’s use of words like “worry” or “anxiety” as an internal unease with external signs. I then broke this into three parts: fear, anxiety, and worry. Fear is a momentary unease and generally helpful. Anxiety is a persistent unease and somewhat helpful. Both are more emotional responses than anything else. Worry, however, is a deliberate unease - a choice to stay mentally focused on fears and anxieties. Over time, those choices become a pattern, the pattern becomes a habit.
I also mentioned Sunday that we should also distinguish from these anxiety disorders. Disorders occur when fear, anxiety, or worry don’t shut off properly, making everyday life significantly more difficult to manage. Sometimes they have a biological basis (like a chemical imbalance), sometimes are induced by trauma, sometimes a mix of both. People with anxiety disorders should not feel condemned or feel that God is somehow unhappy with them. If you have an anxiety disorder, or wonder if you might, you should talk to your doctor or a trained counseling professional. Don’t feel stigmatized or defeated!
While worry for most people is a deliberate mental activity, for some it can be the unintentional result of a disorder. For many of us, however, worry can be dethroned through intentional refocusing of our thoughts. This Sunday we’ll focus on some practical ways to do this. If you missed last week’s message or want to listen again, go here.
Last week I sent the latest Vision Team update. If you missed it, you can read it here. It also has links to the previous updates.
Quest Church: A Community of Grace meets for two worship services: 9am(traditional) and 10:30am (modern with concurrent Kids Quest worship)