By: Cheri Fuller
"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow;
it empties today of its strength."
Corrie ten Boom
The Effects of Worry
What a toll worry takes in our lives! First, it has a negative effect on our health. Studies show that worry decreases our immune system and thus our ability to fight off illness. Chronic worry causes high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, which is linked to heart disease and stroke.
Worrisome thoughts cause confusion. Our brains contain more than two billion megabytes of capacity to handle the challenges and problems of daily life. But when we’re preoccupied with worry and fear, thoughts become tangled and logical thinking can actually be blocked. Chronically worried people complain they can’t concentrate and are easily distracted from daily chores and tasks.
Worry saps our energy. All of us have a certain supply of emotional and physical energy for every day. Yet, if we use it up worrying, we can run out of gas and burn out. We spin our wheels but don’t get anywhere. I don’t know about you, but I need all the energy I can muster to deal with what’s on my plate each day!
Each of us has God-given talents and gifts to bless others with, but fear and worry keep those talents in the closet. It causes us to avoid new situations and miss taking advantage of opportunities to develop and utilize our gifts. I love this quote because it’s so true: “All of us have reservoirs of full potential,” says Swiss psychiatrist Paul Tournier, “but the road that leads to those reservoirs is guarded by the dragon of fear,”vii a dragon that can sideline you from the very purpose you’re designed for, especially when what God is calling you to do involves taking a risk or leaving your comfort zone.
Worry hijacks relationships. Commonsense caution is a good thing, but excessive worry interferes with personal relationships, especially in marriage, with children, and with family members.
Worry sets us up for failure. “I was afraid that was going to happen!” said a mother of a teenage driver who had just had his first wreck. Fear creates what we fear; it has a magnetism that attracts or quickens the approach of the feared event. As Job said, “What I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me” (Job 3:25 nasb). For example, if you’re afraid of a dog biting you, you increase the possibility of it happening. If you focus on your fear of gaining weight, you are setting yourself up for extra poundage.
Worry robs us of faith. Just like a seesaw, worry and trust rise and fall proportionately. When one increases, the other decreases.
Worry steals our joy. If you’re a visual person with an active imagination, you may turn your anxieties into mental movies that play on the movie screen of your mind. Or you may replay your mental tape recorder with negative messages and what-ifs. In either case, it’s hard to be happy and worried at the same time.
All the above are great reasons not to stuff or deny our worries, but to deal with them head-on and break free.
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”