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Craig Groeschel - Why Do I Always Worry?


Craig Groeschel - Why Do I Always Worry?
Craig Groeschel - Why Do I Always Worry?
TOPICS: Peace of Mind, Worry

I wonder how many of you are worried right now? You've got an ongoing weight, a burden, someone you love, something you care about, something that you want to change, but you can't figure out how to change. It's a never ending weight, something that's always present with you. If you do, you're not alone. And today I wanna talk to you about one of the biggest mental health problems facing our world today. And it's so big, and it's so common that it's often overlooked, or completely ignored. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, Americans have a bigger problem with this issue than any other people in the world. If you can imagine the most affluent society in the world is actually the most worry-filled society in the world.

So, for those of you that are Americans, congratulations, we win, at a thing that we'd rather not win at. But many of us battle this chronic, ongoing, we think it's natural, ever present sense of worry, that's poisoning our peace and killing our joy, and stunting our spiritual growth. In fact, according to Barner Research, about 60% of adults in the US, struggle with worry and stress daily. Over half. In fact, if you're in the normal percentages, that means about half of you right now may find yourself struggling to focus on this message, because you've got some weight, some burden, some concern, somebody that you love, something that you wanna change, and it's front of mind or always present, and we just live in a state of worry.

Why is it that so many of us find ourselves battling with worry. I wanna try to unpack it for you today, and tell you at its core, it's because of our sin nature. Because we're born as sinners, we tend to default toward fear, instead of defaulting toward faith. I can prove this to you. If you're awake some night at 2:00 AM, I can almost promise you that you're not awake trying to figure out how to manage all the peace and joy in your life, right. If you're awake at 2:00 AM, you're probably worried about your kids, or some kinda health issue of you or somebody you love, or job stress, or how you're gonna take care of your parents in the years to come. Or you're worried about the big things like terrorism, and wars, and racism, and division, and the price of eggs. Have you seen the price of eggs lately, right. We live in a culture where worry is almost just a commonly accepted part of life.

Now, we're doing a message series on mental health, and we talked earlier about anxiety. And so you might say now, Craig, why are we talking about worry when we've already talked about anxiety, aren't they the same things? And what I wanna say is they're actually related, but they're not the same. What's the difference between worry and anxiety? I wanna talk about, they overlap, and this is perhaps a little bit of an oversimplification, but I want to go ahead and make this distinction. Here's some differences. When we think about worry, we tend to experience worry in our minds. It's something where we over and over and over again, we rehearse the thoughts in our minds. Anxiety is different. we tend to experience worry in our minds, but we generally experience anxiety in our bodies. It's a little bit more holistic. Worry might be specific. Anxiety is more holistic.

For example, you might worry that you're gonna miss a flight. I don't wanna miss a flight. Oh my gosh, we're gonna be late. But you feel anxious about traveling. I get so anxious when I travel. Worry is more specific. No matter what we call it, with all the problems in the world today, it feels like somebody needs to worry about them. But Jesus tells us that we don't have to, in fact, with him on the throne, we shouldn't worry. And what I wanna do is I wanna show you in Matthew 6, Matthew's gospel, I wanna show you multiple times Jesus tells us, do not worry. In fact, watch in the middle of this powerful, and practical teaching on worry, that Jesus actually covers five of the biggest topics that most of us worry about. I wanna show 'em to you on the back screen.

Jesus shows us not to worry about these different things. He's gonna say, hey, don't worry about your finances, your money. Don't freak out about food. Don't worry about your fitness, or your health. Don't worry about fashion. Don't worry about future. Finances, food, fitness, fashion, and future, bonus points for any preacher that makes points start with the same letter. Just so you'll know. We work hard on that stuff. I hope you enjoy it. And this is what Jesus says in Matthew 6:25. He says, "Therefore I tell you," let's say it loud. He says, "Therefore, I tell you, 'do not worry.'" Those of you online, type that in the comment section, do not worry. He says, "Therefore, do not worry".

Now, anytime you see the word, therefore in the Bible, I learned in seminary, you're supposed to ask what's it there for? Anytime you see, therefore, look before that verse, you'll understand the context. Right before Jesus says, "Do not worry," in the verse right before he says, in verse 24, "You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry". What is he saying? Essentially he started off saying, hey, don't worry so much about finances. You cannot love both God and money, so don't overly focus, and overly obsessed about money. And then he tells us in verse 25, again he says, "Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life. What you'll eat or drink," there's food. "Or about your body," there's fitness. "Or about what you'll wear," there's fashion.

Jesus said, don't worry about food, and when he said this to that particular crowd, they probably would've worried about food because they were poor, like where are they gonna eat? Many of us, we worry about food on a whole different level, we just worry about where we're gonna eat and we fight about it. Cause I wanna eat here, and you wanna eat there. And then we worry if we ate too much, or we ate the wrong kind of food. And Jesus says, let's not obsess about that which is temporary, but let's focus on what's eternal. And don't worry about your body, don't obsess about your health. Take care of yourself, but again, the body is temporary, we wanna also focus on our soul. He says, don't worry about what you're gonna wear. Oh my gosh, don't worry so much about what people think about you, and obsess about your image on social media before the big event.

Do you like this outfit, or do you like that outfit? Do you like these shoes, or do you like those shoes? How do you like my hair? How do I look? I say to some of you, if you spend as much time thinking about God as you think about what you wear, oh, that might change the trajectory of your life. Jesus says, don't worry so much about those things that do not last. And then he says, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself". Don't obsess about the future. Don't freak out about something you can't control, where you'll go to school, are you gonna get the perfect job? Don't worry if a loved one's gonna get sick, or just obsess about the fact that your hair might be getting thin. Jesus says, "Don't worry". And then what I love about Jesus, is he doesn't just tell us what to do, but he gets very practical, and he shows us how not to worry. 'Cause I don't know about you, but sometimes I just feel compelled to worry about something that's heavy on my heart. He shows us how not to worry.

Anybody wanna know how not to worry? If you wanna know online, just type in the comment section, "I wanna know, help me, Jesus". I wanna know, help me, Jesus. Here's what he says. Here's how you don't worry. He says in verse 26, "Look at the birds of the air, they don't sow or reap, or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them". He says, "Are you not much more valuable than they"? Jesus is showing us that God loves you way more than the birds, and the birds don't worry. The birds don't worry. Now to be clear, if a bird's hungry, the bird will do something about it, right. And this illustrates a very important difference between concern and worry.

What's the difference between concern and worry? Very important, concern focuses on challenges and moves you to action. It focuses on what might be a problem, and moves you to action, like you might think our marriage is struggling, and so you're concerned about it. And so you think maybe we should get some counseling, or maybe we should be in a life group. Or you're concerned because hey, I've gained 12 pounds, and so I better cut back on soft drinks, or change what I'm eating. Concern focuses on challenges, and it moves you to action. Worry though, worry focuses on what's beyond our control and results in inaction. It's stewing without doing. That's why Jesus perhaps asked the question, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life"?

In other words, you worry, but has anything ever gotten better because of your worry? Has anything ever changed just because you sat there. Jesus says, don't do it. It's not helpful. It doesn't change anything. When you worry, nothing gets better, but your mental health gets worse. Birds don't worry, but they don't sit around doing nothing either. They don't wait for God to drop food in their laps, possibly because birds don't have laps, but that's a whole nother point, right. What does a bird do? If a bird's hungry he gets up, he flies around, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet. Soar, soar, soar, soar, soar. Bird sees a worm, bird comes in and gets the worm. Bird eats the worm, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet. Bird flies around, bird builds a nest.

End of the day the bird goes to sleep. You'll never hear, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, at two in the morning with the bird wide awake, pacing its little bird nest, rubbing its little bird's wings, asking himself, do you think the supply chain problem is gonna result in a shortage of worms? No. You don't see that, because the bird knows that God's gonna provide for the bird and God loves you more than the birds. If God's gonna take care of the birds, how much more is he gonna take care of you? So when we're worrying, essentially, we're saying, God, I don't trust you. Whenever we're worrying, we're essentially saying, God, I don't trust your plan. I don't really believe you're with me. I don't really believe you're good. And if you think I'm judging you for a moment, I might have been awake at 2:00 AM last night, and I wasn't thinking about how to manage all my blessings. I'm vulnerable to it, just like you.

I've said for years, and I want you to think about how this might apply for you, that what you worry about the most, reveals where you trust God the least. I want you to think about this. What you worry about the most often reveals where you trust God the least. And I wanna give you a moment just to think about what that might be for you. What is it? Those of you online, you might even just have the courage to type it in the comment section, I'm worried about a relationship, I'm worried about my child, I'm worried about a marriage. I've got this thing on my body I'm worried about, I've gotta go see the doctor. I'm worried about losing my job. I'm worried because the stock market's down. I've got some kind of personal insecurity, I feel like I'm just not gonna be good enough. They're gonna find out that I'm not that talented, that I'm not capable. I'm not ready. I don't have what it takes.

What do we do when we realize that there's a real category of our life, a person, a relationship, a thing, and in turn an emotion that we're not trusting to God, what do we do with it? How do we do? Okay, Jesus, don't worry. Birds are fine. What are we supposed to do? Here's my finance. Here's my future. Here's my family, I just trust you with it. What do we actually do when we find ourselves in this place? How are we supposed to trust God? It's a great question, and Jesus actually shows us what our role is in Matthew 6:33. This is what scripture says. Jesus tells us, you wanna know what you do? Here's your part. Jesus says, "But seek first God's kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well".

Whenever you're worried, whenever you're freaked out, whenever you're panicked, whenever you don't know what to do, whenever there's too much to bear, what do you do? You seek first God's kingdom. You seek first His righteousness. You seek first His presence. You seek first His goodness, and then everything else will be added unto you. And so, I would ask you this question, is God really first in your life? Is he first in your life? Is he first in your day, like when you wake up in the morning, does your mind drift to all the things you have to do that day? Or does your mind drift toward the things of God, who he is? When you think about the financial pressures, do you tend to put him first in whatever he blesses you with? Or do you put him last, if you consider him even at all? Where does your mind go when it drifts? Does it go to the worst possible case scenario, and here's what could happen?

Oh my gosh, my child is late, they're probably dead on the side of the road. Or, my child is late, they're probably late again. Does your mind drift toward the goodness of God, the presence of God, his power, his love, his grace? Do you put God first in your relationships? Are they centered around him in every single way? Seek him first. Seek him first. Seek him first. Seek him first. Some of you, you may just come to the realization that maybe the reason why I'm so often burdened and worried is because I'm not putting him first. I'm not putting him first. What we worry about the most might reveal where we trust God the least. And the good news is, what does this mean? Means there's an incredible opportunity for you to put your cares in the hands of God. He says, "Cast all of your anxiety on me, because I care for you".

Cry out your heart to him, when you draw near to him, he draws near to you. Cry out to him, cry out to him. Take that burden to him. What's gonna happen about what you're worried about? Whatever it is on your mind, what's gonna happen. I wanna show you very, very clearly three things, and one of these things will happen with the very thing that you are worried about. What you're worried about today, I wanna show you, number one, may never happen. The very thing that's keeping you awake, that's weighing on you so heavily, it may never ever happen. In fact, there's a study done by researchers at Penn State that ask people to document what they were worried about, and how many of their fears actually came to pass in the next 30 days. And according to their research, 91% of their worries did not come true. 91%, nine out of 10 things they were worried about never ever happened.

I want you to think about this, that very likely less than 10% of what you worry about, will happen. But your worry will rob you of peace 100% of the time. Most of what you think about, worry about, is not gonna come to pass, but worry will rob you of peace, and maybe even awareness of God's presence 100% of the time. So whatever it is, that's on your mind, that burden, one thing, one option is, it's not gonna happen. The second thing is, it may happen, and it won't be as bad as you thought. This is very, very common, right. You think it's gonna be horrible, and then it happens, you go, oh, well that wasn't so bad. I worried all and all about that thing, and you didn't do great on the presentation, and nobody really cared.

You still got a job. You asked her out on a date and she said no, and lo and behold, you didn't bleed out by her locker, you still live to ask another girl out on another day. Or you said something totally stupid, and everybody laughed at you, and a few of you kind of liked you more on the other side, 'cause now you're kind a human. What you're worried about, what's weighing on you, it may never ever happen, or it may happen and not be as bad as you thought. Or number three, it may happen, and God will carry you through it. It may actually happened, or maybe even worse than what you thought, and you may experience the goodness, and the presence and the provision, and the peace of God in a way that you never ever imagined possible.

This message series has been hitting home with many people, sadly, because so many people are hurting. And what I've found is that we often get to know God best, when we need him most. And there may be some of you right now, you're carrying a burden that just seems too great to bear. This may be an opportunity to take that relationship, to take that care, to take that situation, take that fear, to take that, to take that very thing you'd dread and take it to God, and know that he cares about you, that he's with you, that he's always good. And understand, what you worried about may not even happen, and it may happen and it may not be as bad as you thought, or it may happen and he'll provide for you in a way that you never imagined.

And I received an email about a message that I did talking about people who feel hopeless, and some consider taking their life. And I have permission to read this, but I'm gonna change the name just outta respect for the person. I'll call her Sherry, not her real name. This is a portion of her email, not all of it. But with permission to share, she wrote to me and said, "It's with tears in my eyes, and a heart of overflowing thankfulness that I write to you".

She described, "My husband of 29 years, struggled his entire life with depression. As he studied to become a pastor, his heart was changed. and I believe that we were on a path to life without sorrow. But when our 13-year-old son died in an accident, my husband's depression returned with a vengeance, and eventually weakened him to the point of taking his own life. I wondered, in your sermon today, how your words may have spoken to my husband, your message of truth and encouragement fills me with hope for all those who've heard it. May God richly bless your every effort to reach those in the miry pit, and those who are willing to get muddy, and whom desire to help pull them out". And she signed it, "Jesus is enough. Sherry".

Jesus is enough. I couldn't imagine a worse loss than losing a child, followed by losing your husband. And she writes and says, I can't wait for this message to encourage someone else out of the darkness my husband was in. Jesus is enough. Sherry is a life group leader at one of our campuses. And she leads a life group to help people who are recovering from trauma. When she says, Jesus is enough, she knows Jesus is enough. Whatever you're going through today, Jesus says, trust me. Don't worry. Don't freak out. Don't worry about what's gonna happen to your body, worry about your soul. What do you do? It's a very complicated world with real burdens, real weight, real significant fears, real pain, real trauma. You seek him first. You seek him first. You call on Jesus. You press into Jesus. You love him. You cry out to him. You hurt with him.

You might yell at him at times, and you go back to his word, and you let his spirit work in you. You let his spirit heal you. You let his spirit minister to you and you put him first. You seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then everything else will be added unto you. What you fear the most often reveals where you trust God the least. Guess what? Today is a day, an opportunity for you to take that burden, that care, or that person, and trust it unto God, and seek him first. And no matter what you face, he will be with you. He will carry you. He will strengthen you. He will comfort you because he loves you, and he is with you.

And so God, today we ask for your presence, your power to do a work. Holy Spirit, help us to cast our cares upon you. Wherever you're watching from today, those of you that would say, yeah, I'm one of those that battle with worry. There's something that is on my mind, on my heart, and I wanna learn to put Jesus first in that area, to trust him, to cast my cares upon him.


If you've got a burden like that today, that's heavy, and by faith, you want to trust it to Jesus, would you just lift up your hands? Online you can type it in the chat, I'm giving my burden to God. Just whatever it is, you may even be specific online if you want to, I'm trusting God with my child. I'm trusting God with my future. Whatever it is, you can just type it in there if you want.

And God, we asked that in this moment, your peace that goes beyond our human ability to understand will guard our hearts and our minds, as we take our burdens and our cares to you. We pray about everything, God, because you care about it. We put you first. And God, even for those that are gonna face something that could be just like Sherry, worse than they could imagine, God, we thank you that even in our heartbreaks, even in our deepest hurts, especially in our heartbreaks, and our deepest hurts, you are still good, you're still present. God, help us to trust in you. Help us to trust in you.


As you continue to pray today, all of our different churches, and those of you that are online, some of you may just recognize that Jesus isn't really anywhere near first in your life. I grew up kind of going to church and knew about God, kind of knew the story of Jesus, but he wasn't first at all. I didn't know him. And I recognized that I'd done so many things that were wrong and felt so much guilt. How do we overcome that? How is it that were made right with God? Well, scripture is so beautiful, and powerful, and personal, that it just tells us that God so loved the world. He loved you so much, that he sent his one and only Son, he sent Jesus, who was perfect in every way. And he gave his life, the innocent one, the sinless one gave his life so that we could be forgiven.

And I want you to hear that and feel it, no matter what you've done, God loves you. Jesus is the perfect Son of God, and when we put him first, when we call on him, God hears our prayers and he forgives our sins. Whatever the weight is, whatever the burden is, whatever the shame is, the guilt from your past, when you call on Jesus, he hears your prayers and he forgives your sins. He separates them from as far as the east is from the west. You're forgiven. You're different. You're new. You're a new person. The old is gone and all becomes new. And the Holy Spirit moves into you, and you can live a life that's pleasing to God. And even though it won't be perfect, his perfect presence is always with you. Wherever you're watching from today, those of you that say, I need that. He's not first, I wanna put him first. We're gonna step away from our sinfulness, we're gonna step away from our old life, and we're gonna say, Jesus, I give you my life. I want to know you, I wanna serve you, I wanna follow you.

Those of you today, wherever you're watching from, you say, I need him, I need his presence. I need his grace. I need his forgiveness. Today I step away from my sinfulness, and I give my life to Jesus. If that's your prayer, lift your hands high now. All of us lift them up and say, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Thank God for people today saying yes to the grace of Jesus. Those of you online, just type it in the comment section, I'm choosing to follow Jesus. Just put it in your own words, I'm choosing to follow Jesus. And God, thank you for those coming to faith. Would you all pray together wherever you are. Just pray:

Heavenly Father. I surrender. And put you first. Jesus, be my Lord. Be my savior. Be my friend. Fill me with your spirit. So I could trust in you. And know you. And serve you. From now and onward. Thank you for new life. Take all of mine. In Jesus name I pray.

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