Facing the “Dis-ease” of Worry

By Danielle Mincey, Ph.D
Updated: January 17, 2005
Marion Jones
Marion Jones

FAIRFAX, VA.— “Psalm 37: 1-11. I ran to these scriptures verses this morning because my world has become more than I can bear. I know that I am not alone. Therefore, this column is dedicated to exposing worry for the addictive drug that it is.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that I have been hypocritical by mindlessly quoting these scriptures. This is because I have not rested on this word, and therefore I have not been walking the walk that I talk. I do not believe that I have ever known how to schedule time to rest, much less relax. The few times that I have gotten away from the hustle and bustle of life, it has caused me to suffer much emotional turmoil. But for the sake of my emotional and physical health, and that of my family, I tore myself away from all of the “things” I “had” to do.

Perhaps you too are afflicted with the disease “Worrying about what I have to do.” Performing a brief self-diagnosis, I find that I am at stage three out of a possible five stages. Stage five, as I perceive it from my stage three status, may be physical and/or emotional collapse or worse, death. Yes, it really is that melodramatic. All of the warning signs are there: irritability, listlessness, constant frowning and the recurring migraine headaches.

This disease is an addiction for me: I know that constant activity will inevitably “slam-dunk” me, but I can’t seem to take it easy. There is just so much I have to do. I keep telling myself to hold-on. In classic fashion, I will shift from my need to rest, to why do African-Americans work and worry us to early graves? You see, I’ve taken on the job of “helping my people” and the demands of the job are literally tearing me down. I know I am not alone in fighting this disease. Yet, as an African-American female, I feel that if I stop then “something bad” will happen to all the people and things depending on me to keep going. I make the distinction according to my gender and race because the myth of the “Black Superwoman” is one that I grew up with and now into. I, along with other African American women say that I don’t believe in this myth and yet, all of my actions and reactions to circumstances strongly contradicts my assertions of non-compliance. What’s worse is that this disease has me thinking that I can beat the negative side effects of this deadly addiction to worry. How? Well, if I can just keep going, I can out-run the stress that is chasing me down and threatening to overtake me. But who am I fooling? No one. Not even myself.

I have even turned my prayer time into an occasion to worry. I try to figure out the details of my life before I turn them over to the Lord. Can you believe that I actually attempt to go to God with my proposal on how I will trust Him to handle the details of my life? Well, I do, and this is the part that is secretly and silently leading to my demise . But there is hope. I am becoming conscious of my reactions to situations and can actually experience my body’s internal responses. Acknowledgement of one’s addiction is the first step towards sobriety. I stand before God and man and say that I cannot take one “hit” of worry. I cannot indulge without it taking over my life and risk losing my family as I worry myself to death and them into co-dependency. Rehab for worry consists of anti-anxiety drugs and therapy, both of which I have experienced. However, just like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, the only true deliverance is the acknowledgement of a Being greater than the individual. I have known this all of my life, but still worry is a weakness for me, in me, that I struggle to deal with on my own. This morning, I went to the place where I can always rest. I went to the Word of God. I ran to Psalm 37 the way a drug addict runs to rehab when s/he is tired of trying to deal with drugs on their own. I ran with all I had, holding nothing back. Thus, I began the process of becoming worry-free.

Psalm 37:1-2 – “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. “

Psalm 37:3-4 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:5-6 – “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

Psalm 37:7-8 – “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret – it only cause harm.”

Psalm 37:9-11 – “ For evildoers shall be cut off; but those that wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed you will look diligently for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Eleven verses of Psalm 37 gave me the peace that I knew of, and promoted to others. However, as in all things, when I find myself moving outside of the Spirit within me, I turn back to the drug of worry. Fortunately, there is an answer to this drug addiction that plague billions of people daily. That answer is in the Word.

Initially, my brain tried to get me to indulge in worry again, as I composed this column. The negative message was that “non-Christians and even some Christians do not want to read this on a website dedicated to the soul of sports”. However, I had to put aside that weight of worry because I know that by listening, and then stopping the direction of this column, someone else who suffers with this disease would succumb. And you know what? Then I would have to worry