Hand dragging in water

"Do Not Worry"
Story 95

By Kirsten Cutler

Is worry getting in your way?

Worry is complicated, but it’s the way your brain processes anxiety. It’s also something very human. “Anxiety is your body’s natural threat response system,” writes Luana Marques, PhD, in the Harvard Health Blog. “When your brain believes you are in danger, it sends out a series of signals to your body, resulting in the fight-or-flight response. Worry is the cognitive component of anxiety – negative thoughts about what might happen in the future.”

The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25 are memorable for their timeless relevance about this very topic: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” This wisdom suggests just how universal and historic of a problem worry is and how it can distort our perspectives. 

"Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

There’s certainly enough to worry about: your health, your finances, your future, the state of the world. But is it helping you? That’s one question you can ask yourself to stop negative, worrisome thoughts according to University of Michigan Health. Look at what you're saying to yourself and ask yourself if the evidence supports your negative thought.

Experts say even if your negative thoughts are partly true, choose a helpful thought to replace a negative one. For many people, it’s helpful to do this in writing. Not only will it help you think more positively: It may help make you aware of how much negative self-talk has been bringing you down!

Jesus added in Matthew 6:26-30: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith?”

The words Jesus are a declaration and an invitation: Trouble is real, but you can trade in your worry for trust. Who would turn that down?