What Are You Worried About?
By: Rick Warren
Two businessmen were talking about the uncertainties of the current economic climate. Jack said, “I’m about to lose my job and our house is in foreclosure – but I don’t worry about it.” His friend Bob asked, “How can you not be worried?” Jack answered, “I’ve hired a professional worrier. He does all my worrying for me. That way I don’t have to worry!”
“What do you pay for that service?” Bob asked him. “$50,000 a year,” Jack answered. Hearing this, Bob gasped, “$50,000! Where are you going to get that kind of money?” Jack replied, “I don’t know. That’s his worry!”
WORRY IS SOMETHING YOU LEARNED TO DO. There is no such thing as a born worrier. It is a learned response to life. You learned to worry from two sources:
1. You learned to worry from experience. After years of mistakes, failures and unfulfilled hopes and expectations, you have discovered that things do not always turn out the way we want or expect them to. Out of these experiences, you formed the habit of worrying.
2. You learned to worry from examples. There are many models around you. Studies show that children usually pick up their parents’ worries. Anxious, fearful parents raise anxious, fearful kids.
The good news is that since worry is a learned response to life, it can be unlearned! The starting point for overcoming worry is to realize one basic, universal truth: it is useless. You derive no benefit from worrying. It is “stewing without doing.”
Worry has never changed anything. Worry cannot change the past. Worry cannot control the future. Worry only makes you miserable today. Worry has never solved a problem, it has never paid a bill, and has never cured an illness. It only paralyzes you, inhibiting your ability to take proper remedial steps, so you can’t work on the solution.
Worry is like racing a car engine in neutral – it doesn’t get you anywhere, it just uses up fuel. As Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “An anxious heart weighs a man down.”
On top of that, worry exaggerates the problem. It plays on your imagination. Have you ever noticed that when you worry about a problem, it seems to get bigger and more difficult to solve? Every time you repeat your concern over and over in your mind, you tend to add details and increase its intensity – amplifying the situation so you feel worse.
So what is the solution? Instead of worrying, talk to God about what is worrying you. He is someone – perhaps the only One – who can do something about it. “Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything; tell God what you need 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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Rick Warren is the author of the highly acclaimed, best-selling book, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages and sold throughout the world. It affirms the importance of having a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life.