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Why Worry?

No worries.  People say this a lot, usually when someone accidently bumps into them, or makes a mistake they have to correct.  But, oh how we long for this to be true in so much deeper of a way.

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t had their eyes pop open in the middle of the night thinking about some bill that hasn’t been paid, some test they have to take, some presentation they have to give, some relationship that’s not right.  There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t ever laid awake in bed late at night worrying. 

No worries.

We all know the debilitating effects of worry.  Worry gives us that awful sinking feeling in the pit of our stomachs.  Worry keeps us on pins and needles.  Worry increases inflammation in our bodies—it’s bad for our health.  Worry can even (eventually) kill us.  

Worst of all, worry doesn’t do anything positive for us.  Worry doesn’t help solve our problems.  Worry doesn’t lighten our mood.  Worry doesn’t take our burdens away—it only adds to them!

Worry steals our joy and ruins our lives. 

So why do we worry?  If we know how bad it is for us, emotionally, psychologically, and physically, why do we keep doing it—obsessively?  

Jesus made the most powerful argument against worry: “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life span? (Matthew 6:27)  Actually, modern medicine is discovering that the only thing worry can do for us is subtract years from our lives!

We so get it.  We so get how bad it is for us.  But we can’t help ourselves.  We can’t seem to stop it from overtaking and controlling our lives.  We.  Just.  Can’t.  Stop.  Why?

I think it’s because we we’re missing the most important thing about it: Worry is addictive.  By nature, we are worry addicts.  It’s a compulsion.  This is why we can’t simply turn it off.  It gets us “high”, a “high” we think we can’t live without. 

What’s the “high”?  It’s the illusion that we’re actually in control.  That we can control the outcome.  That we can control our destiny.  That we can control being vulnerable to the vicissitudes of life.

When I’m honest with myself about this—a rarity, I admit—I realize that I worry because I think by worrying I can prevent something bad from happening.  Absurd, right?  In some kind of crazy, superstitious way, I think that if I worry enough, the bad thing I fear won’t happen.  But if I don’t worry about it, it will. 

I even worry that I’m not worrying enough!  Like when I have to give a talk that I’m anxious about.  If I catch myself being too calm beforehand, I worry that it will bomb because I didn’t worry about it.

No worries.

Do you know who psychologists say are most prone to worry?  Creative types.  The more creative a person is, the more they worry.  (If you worry more than others, take heart, it means you’re more creative!)

The reason they give makes perfect sense: imagination is what breeds creativity.  But the more imaginative we are, the more possibilities—usually bad, catastrophic possibilities—our minds tend to manufacture. 

To different degrees, we are all creative types.  We all have wild imaginations.  We all readily see different possible outcomes to every situation, past, present, and, especially with worry, future.

No worries.

But do you realize how extraordinary this power of imagination is?  You don’t find your dog waking up in the middle of the night unable to go back to sleep because she’s beset by worry.  Your dog has no worries because she doesn’t have this same imaginative capability.  It’s uniquely human.  It’s a function of consciousness, the ability to think abstractly; to be aware of yourself having different experiences across past present, and future modes of existence; to imagine many different potential outcomes.   

And here’s the good news about worry: if we just spontaneously popped into existence; if we’re just the products of blind chance, then we shouldn’t have this capability.  As I’ve explained in previous blogs, a number of prominent atheists admit that the existence of human consciousness is the greatest challenge to Atheism, which hasn’t found a convincing way to explain it. 

No worries.

We worry because life feels so out of control.  We feel so vulnerable to all the bad things that could happen to us.

But worry is only possible if we’ve been endowed with a creative, imaginative intellect by a Creator who is in control of it all.  And—if Christianity is right—loves us beyond all telling. 

And, if there is nothing that will ever separate us from His love, then we really have nothing to worry about.

Do you struggle with worry?  What helps you deal with it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, or any other comments or questions you have.  You can go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leave them there.  Please “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel.  I thank God for all the support and encouragement you’ve been giving me!

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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