Summary of Chapter Five in The End of Worry: Why We Worry and How to Stop by Will Van der Hart and Rob Waller. Will is a pastor working in London and Rob is a Christian psychiatrist. Both are recovering worriers.
1. “Do not worry” is the single hardest instruction in the Bible. Although anxiety and depression are the most common emotional health problems among Christians, the church rarely addresses them and is ill-equipped to deal with them.
2. Churches often communicate that being worried is proof of a shallow or weak faith. This compounds the problem because then the worrier has the additional worry that they are offending God by their lack of faith.
3. Matthew 6:25-34 is an example of divine cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Jesus is challenging us to transform our response to perceived threats and find better ways to face the challenges of life. Lessons from that passage include:
- Jesus challenges us not to remain independent of God by incessantly worrying about our own needs but to be God-reliant for all our needs
- Jesus does not command us to give up all concern for what we need but to give up insightless, faithless obsession with security.
- Jesus teaches us not to “run” (v. 32) after the certainty of provision. This word “run” indicates a desperate obsession.
- Striving for certain security is not just irrational and fruitless; it undermines God’s good character.
4. There are two types of worry—today worry and tomorrow worry (v. 34).
- Today worry (v. 34b): The solvable worries you can deal with today.
- Tomorrow worry (v. 34a): The unsolvable floating worries, or hypothetical “what ifs” about tomorrow.
5. Jesus leads us out of bondage by leading us into the now. He teaches us to focus on the present of the Kingdom of God. Once we get better at focusing on the present Kingdom of God rather than our security, trust and peace will increase.
6. The Christian life can be undermined by seeking and demanding absolute certainty. Most Christian problem worriers find themselves drawn toward desperate attempts to attain certainty regarding their faith, which ultimately undermine confidence in their relationship with God. They will worry less if that learn to accept a degree of uncertainty rather than demanding it. In the next chapter, we will look at tolerating uncertainty.
The End of Worry: Why We Worry and How to Stop by Will Van der Hart and Rob Waller.