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by Bill Denton


“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your ! heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”     (Matthew 6:25-27, NASB95)
Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.      —  Arthur Somers Roche

    I’m afraid Arthur Roche had it right, and in a most graphic way.  Given time, worry cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.  I think what he had in mind is that when worry becomes deeply rooted in our thinking and emotions, everything else that we think about is tainted by what becomes a “way” of thinking and feeling.  We begin to worry about everything.

    Some of us end up so fearful of what “might” happen, that it is difficult for us to do much of anything.  Instead of facing difficulties and figuring out ways to go through them or around them, we see great, intimidating obstacles.  Instead of realistically considering negatives and discovering ways to turn them into positives, we fall prey to pessimism and convince ourselves of the worst possible outcomes.  It becomes one of those vicious circles.  The more we worry, the more negative we become, and the more negative we become, the more we worry.

    Someone once asked, “You mean we shouldn’t be concerned about anything?” 

The more we worry, the more negative we become, and the more negative we become, the more we worry.
    I do not think that’s what Jesus meant, nor do I think it wise to suggest that we not exercise prudent caution and simple good sense.  There is a great deal of difference between the fellow who is able to think rationally, to consider the downside of whatever he is facing, give legitimate consideration to the possibility of failure and generally pay attention in a sensibly careful way, and the fellow who is consumed by worry.  In other words, there is a great difference between prudent concern and worry.

    Worry forces us into a constant negative mindset.  Concern, enables us to consider the problems, yet look for positive ways to deal with them and find productive answers.  Worry causes a fear that incapacitates.  Concern often provides an energy to find a solution to a problem.  Worry spins its wheels in the mire of inaction.  Concern looks for ways to do something about whatever a person is facing.  Worry saps physical energy, mental acuity, and spiritual strength.  Concern can actually boost energy, sharpen the mind and encourage reliance on our faith.  Worry keeps you awake at night, shivering at the demons in the shadows.  Concern might also keep you awake at night, but only because you’ve begun to formulate ideas and plans about what to do.  Worry never accomplishes anything positive.  Concern does.  It seems to me that there is enough clear difference between the two that it ought to be fairly easy to choose the one that will help us achieve productive results.

    Anxiety and worry are negative stressors that put us under a pressure that kills.  Concern puts us under some pressure, too, but it comes with a release valve of solution-oriented motivation and behavior.  If you’d like to do something to help yourself become more successful at whatever endeavor you’re involved, then learn to convert your worry to concern, and watch the differences take shape.

      © Copyright 2002, Dr. Bill Denton, CrossTies, All Rights Reserved. Articles may not be reprinted in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles.

      Title: ""
      Author: Bill Denton
      Publication Date: March 6, 2002


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