The Worried Mind

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25

Dear members and friends,

Worrying is perhaps one of the major causes of anxiety, which is one of the major stressors to human minds. In Matthew, Jesus specifically points out the act of worrying, and emphasizes its negative impact on us. The word “worry” as a noun is defined as “a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” The problem of worrying is not from being conscious of actual or potential problems, which is a necessary act, but from being in a state of anxiety and uncertainty, which causes a big negative impact on the mind. According to the practice of psychiatry, anxiety is defined as “a mental condition characterized by excessive apprehensiveness about real or perceived threats, typically leading to avoidance behaviors and often to physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and muscle tension.” The problem of anxiety is that it could cause avoidant behaviors, meaning that we could do certain actions mentally, emotionally, and physically to avoid what is causing anxiety without achieving any real result. Thus, there is a mental condition that is called anxiety disorder. 

Some may argue that worrying could be a good thing, such as parents worrying about their child(ren). However, according to both Jesus and modern science, the very act of worrying is negative to our minds. The reason could be found in the meaning of both the Hebrew word, dagg, and the Greek word, merimnao. Dagg and merimnao are often translated as “to worry” in the Bible. Dagg could also be translated as “anxiety, dread, or fear,” while merimnao literally means “to be divided”, as in pulled apart in different directions. Thus, according to the Bible, the act of worrying is directly related to a mindset filled with fear and/or pulled in different directions. In either case, such a mindset is not capable of making a proper evaluation of a situation or event. Consequently, a worried mind could make a decision that brings negative impact on itself. The biggest concern here is that worrying could become a habitual state in which our minds dwell for a long time. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment and reflect on the anxieties and uncertainties in our minds, and observe the causes of those anxieties and uncertainties. Next, let us have courage to accept the truth that life is uncertain, and embrace the reality that we do not control it. Finally, let us acknowledge and enter into the presence of a loving and wise Creator believing all things will be good at the end.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee