BRADY COLUMN: Handling worry

Published 10:30 am Saturday, December 4, 2021

There is a story about a young woman crying profusely while standing on a street corner. When a man came up to her and asked why she was weeping, she replied, “I was just thinking that maybe someday I would get married. We would later have a beautiful baby girl. Then, one day the child and I would go for a walk along this street, and my darling daughter would run into the street, get hit by a car and die.”

Now, that sounds like a fairly unreasonable situation-crying because of something that will probably never happen. Yet, we get this way when we worry. We tend to blow a situation out of proportion.

What is worry? Worry is simply the triumph of fear over faith. The worry is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning “to strangle” or “to choke off.” There is no question that worry and fear do choke off the creative activity of God in our lives. As it has been stated, “Fear sees a threat. Worry imagines one.” In today’s article, “I want to suggest several ways to handle our worry. First, we can put our worry in perspective! The late Carl Michalson, noted theologian and author, once stated, “Nothing significant is ever accomplished without worry because worry spurs us to action and promotes conditions favorable to the carrying out of our commitments, thus reaffirming the fact that we are supposed to worry about some things.” 

Speaking from experience, I understand what Carl Michalson is talking about because I don’t believe you can pastor a church of “vision and possibility” without some stress and worry. Same is true of other worthwhile endeavors. But there is another perspective on excessive worry that should be mentioned. It will always be the person who has something inwardly fine to live for that will be able to best handle the most perplexing anxieties or worries of everyday life. Someone said, “God has given me a mission, and He has a mission for you too. That mission is my reason for living. It fills my life with meaning.” And let me add that mission will also enables us to handle our other worries or anxieties.

Second, we can handle our worry through prayer! The apostle Paul says, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication … let your request be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6-7).  Writing in her book “Plan B, Further Thoughts on Faith,” Anne Lamott says that “Help” is a prayer that is always answered.” And then she said, and I love this, “I think it must be true-that when you pray, you are not starting the conversation from scratch, just remembering to plug back into a new conversation that’s always in progress. Prayer is basically a friendship with God. We can just talk with God like a trusted friend and cast our worry on him.