AnOldSinner’s church pride’s itself on being “Monday morning relevant.” That means messages from the pulpit are designed to give congregants information they can use to live in the world while focusing on their relationship with Christ. One way to accomplish this goal is to teach a series of sermons with a focus. A recent series of this nature was “Getting Healthy Again.”
Getting Healthy focused on various sins, temptations or mind sets that threaten one’s spiritual health. Care to guess which topic inspired this piece? If you guessed the sermon was on Mad or Alfred E. Neuman I feel for you. Your sense of humor is worse than mine.
The sermon was “Taking the Wind Out of Worry.” The pastor presenting the sermon did a great job, and your time would be well spent if you watched it. With that said, indulge me for a moment and read on.
The congregation seemed to respond well to the pastor’s words. Still, this writer wondered if they actually heard what the pastor was saying. As I wrote in a “A Blind Eye” last fall, people choose what they want to see or hear. It is possible that many, if not most, of the people in the congregation that Sunday were nodding along with the pastor’s points and thinking of all the worriers they knew. It never crossed their minds that he might be speaking to them.
Think about it for a moment. How many people do you know who seem to worry too much or about things beyond their control? Chances are most of us can think of quite a few people we would classify as worry warts. It is also likely that most of us will leave one name off of that list, our own.
The human mind is a marvelous organ. In many ways, it was the first super computer. It can store vast amounts of information, while multiple programs, or apps, are running in the background to keep our hearts beating and helping us sense the world around us. Of course, it is not perfect. If we do not take care of it properly, exercise it regularly and make certain it is given good data to process it can lock up as tightly as a cheap laptop trying to run Outlook, Explorer, Photoshop and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare at the same time. Which brings me to the point of this piece.
Human beings are gullible. That is why we sometimes order the latest gadget that is “not sold in stores” for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Yes, everyone can fall prey to a scam, huckster, con or sad tale at times. Unfortunately, the person who can sell us a piece of beach front property in Arizona the easiest is the person we see in the mirror every morning.
It is amazing how easily a person can con him or herself. We do it by filling our minds with platitudes, aphorisms and bad information. It is the old “garbage in, garbage out” computer programming phenomenon. Humans can sell themselves a line that would gag Bernie Madoff. We can make ourselves believe we never worry, we never cheat, we never lie and that lust in our heart thing, forget about it!
I got a bit carried away with examples. So, let’s get back to worry. In the vernacular of Jeff Foxworthy, you may be a worrier if:
You lay awake at night because of all the ideas running through your mind.
You start on one project, and immediately feel guilty about two others you haven’t finished.
You take twice as long as your spouse to dress for church because it takes three or four tries to match the colors of something you are wearing.
You just can’t imagine why your long time church friend walked right past you twice last week without speaking.
You are always having to tell your spouse or your friends that you’re not worried about something. It’s just on your mind a lot.
You just can’t stand being with old what’s his name because he’s such a worrier.
I hope I’ve made my point. Worry, like any less than noble part of our personae, is something we deny. We deny it to our friends, we deny it to our spouse and we deny it to ourselves.
Worry may or may not be a sin.1 It may or may not be caused by a lack of faith. Those are questions for theologians, you and God. Still, there is one thing for certain. Worry, at least excessive worry, is not good for you. Whether it is simply the fact you can’t quit thinking about tomorrow, or you can’t quit worrying that someone will find out what you did yesterday, worry can be harmful and a waste of time.
AnOldSinner knows where of he speaks. I was, okay still am, a classic Type A personality. If I could control everything and everyone around me 24/7 I would. In fact, for years I tried. I was good at it, but I paid a price for my efforts. It was not until I ended up on my knees and turned everything over to God that I found a bit of peace. Notice. I said a bit of peace. Worry, like many sins or personal defects, does not simply go away. I turned mine over the, God, but He will let me take it back anytime I want.
How about you? Are you tired of laying awake at night “wondering” about problems that are beyond your control? Are you looking for someone to help with the stresses of life in this world? Have you read “Footprints in the Sand” recently?
According to at least some theologians, one can assume it is a sin, and they quote several verses as evidence of their position: Matt 6:25, Psalms 55:22, 1 Peter 5:6-8
©S. E. Jackson 2016