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The Pill is a Process (Part 1)

What are you worried about?

Think about it for a few moments. Maybe pull out your phone and write one thing down. Then stare at that worry. Read it out loud, starting with “Today I am worried about…”

Now, imagine if medical professionals developed a little pill that would take away your worry. To be clear, the pill wouldn’t take away the thing you’re worried about, but somehow it would turn you into a completely unworried person amid a very worrisome circumstance.

How long do you think the line would be at your local Walgreens to acquire that pill? How much money do you think doctors and pharmacists would charge for that pill due to its inevitably high demand?

Now, I’m well aware that “worry” is a complicated word.

And to the 50 million Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder that requires them to pay for medication and counseling in order to cope...please believe me when I say, I see you.

I’m not a doctor. I’m not a licensed therapist. So, if you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder, I’m not here to offer some “quick-fix” medical advice on how to manage it, nor am I telling you to cease all the treatments that may actually be helpful for you.

But the truth is, whether or not we suffer from something that can be diagnosed, every single one of us has a tendency to worry. And all worry is significant, no matter what kind of person is doing the worrying.


Because we can’t ignore the fact that, according to the ancient wisdom found in the Bible, there is no good excuse to worry. Nowhere in Scripture does God say, “ok, go ahead and stress and worry and be afraid. This thing you’re going through is totally legitimate grounds to do so. You get a pass.”

I know that sounds like an audacious claim given what we see happening in our world every day. You’re thinking, “Andrew, just watch the news for an hour, and I guarantee that you will find PLENTY of good excuses to worry!”

And yet, we have recorded ancient wisdom (also from a time and place with plenty of opportunities for worry) instructing us, commanding us, not to worry or be afraid.

One of those “ancients” was someone who wrote the majority of the New Testament…a guy named Paul. And despite not having his PhD, Paul was quite possibly one of the greatest masters of psychology that ever walked the earth.

And because Paul understood the inner workings of this masterpiece we call the human person, he understood how a person could effectively be rid of worry once and for all.

Yes, Paul truly believed that there was an antidote to worrying.

And it wasn’t a pill. It was a process.

In the same way that we cannot magically transform into a fluent Spanish-speaker overnight, we also cannot transform overnight into someone who naturally doesn’t worry.

But common sense tells us that we can learn Spanish if we want to. If we are compelled by a strong vision and have the motivation to learn Spanish (perhaps a vacation to Latin America is coming up), the resources are available at our fingertips to become the kind of person who knows Spanish.

So the “antidote” to being someone who can’t speak Spanish is not a pill. It’s a process. And at the end of the process, with time and discipline, there you are, the Spanish Speaker.

In the same way, the antidote to worry, according to Paul, is not a pill, a vaccine, a pint of Ben n’ Jerry’s or a fifth of Jack Daniels. It’s not a quick-fix at all, and it flies in the face of our American culture that desires every problem to have an immediate solution.

The antidote to worry, as it turns out, is a process. And at the end of that process, with time, discipline, and help from God, there you are, the non-anxious presence.

There you are, standing in line at the DMV, filled with patience.

There you are, running late for work, sitting in traffic on the 91 freeway, filled with peace.

There you are, sitting in the doctor’s office awaiting test results, filled with joy.

In the middle of the chaos of life, when everyone around you is speaking the language of worry, stress, and fear, there you are, uttering something else entirely.

Now, I want to ask you: does this sound like the kind of person you’d like to become?

If your answer is, “well, duh,” then I’ll ask you a more serious question…does this sound like the kind of person that it’s realistically possible to become?

Wrestle with that question for a bit. And if your honest answer is “no,” then I wish you all the best.

But if your answer is “yes,” or you’re at least curious, then stick around.

Next week, we’ll take a deeper look at worry and joy. What is worry? What is Joy? How are they connected? If we want to end worry and increase our joy, we’ll need to understand what these conditions are and how they work. We’ll hear from some wise friends from the past who learned how to end worry and live in abundant joy in any and every circumstance.

Be well, my friends.



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~ Andrew

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