Victory over worry? pt. 1
FR. SEBASTIAN CAMPBELL
Published: Oct 17, 2013
Worry, fear and anxiety are intimately related and often used interchangeably. It’s rather foolish to advise someone battling the blows of false friends, “Don’t worry be happy.” John E. Haggai once wrote, “Worry divides the faculty of perception; therefore, observation is faulty and even false.”
Amazing how worry can make a mountain out of a molehill. Worry has the capacity to amplify a perceived threat or problem out of proportion. No wonder “worriation” leads to suicide or some to contemplate doing it. Remember a time when bombs were going off in our heads and we plotted either our own destruction or that of someone else — our greatest enemy. Then time elapses and we cool down, now we are a new person as we wonder what in the heck all that bombardment was about. Was it worth the energy we invested?
Worry affects physical health. It is said, “Some are unhappy through illness; some are ill through unhappiness.”
Medical science proves that constant worry upsets the body’s equilibrium and gives rise to physical illness like peptic ulcers, migraine headaches, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, skin rashes, hyperthyroidism, impotence and pre-mature ejaculation. Read Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.”
• Worry paralyzes motivation: When a person gets tied up in worry, he become indecisive and immobilized to carry out the necessary steps to achieve something.
• Worry impairs reasoning: He is incapable of seeing things reasonably or realistically because worry distorts his perception. It even affects the ability to be efficient.
• Worry leads to unproductive activities: Under a state of worry, a person may subject himself to drinking, smoking, frantic shopping, overeating, gossiping or even being overtly generous or stingy as means of coping with their uncomfortable feelings. The person may even become irritable and this can result in hurting others with their words and actions.
• Worry contradicts spiritual priorities: In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus teaches that seeking God’s righteousness and kingdom should be given the top priority rather than the basic necessities of daily living which God reassures us that he will provide. Anything that comes between us and God is idolatry.
• Worry stuns spiritual growth: In the parable of the sower, Jesus pointed that the seeds that were sown among thorns did not became fruitful as they were being choked by the worries of this life.
Earl Nightingale, a researcher, once shared a study on what people worry about. Check out how amusing his results were:
• 40 percent worry about things that never happen.
• 30 percent worry about things in the past.
• 12 percent needlessly worry about health.
• 10 percent worry about petty things.
• Eight percent worry about real issues.
If Nightingale is right, then 92 percent of what people worry about is just a waste of time and energy. So, it is important first to identify what exactly the person is worrying about before we attempt to counsel or provide alternatives to his problems.
Spiritual counseling is primary in our counseling efforts, but with a strong spiritual grounding in life we can be better fortified to deal with the fiery darts shot at as by the devils of our own making.
• Rev. Canon S. Sebastian Campbell is rector at St. Gregory’s Anglican Church.