by Brandy Webb
I have heard that there are just as many neurons in our stomach as in our brain. In fact, scientists call the stomach the second brain. In an article by Sandra Blakeslee, she states:
The gut’s brain, known as the enteric nervous system, is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Considered a single entity, it is a network of neurons, neurotransmitters and proteins that zap messages between neurons, support cells like those found in the brain proper and a complex circuitry that enables it to act independently, learn, remember and, as the saying goes, produce gut feelings.
Therefore, when the Messiah tells us not to worry in Matthew chapter 6, starting in verse 25, it is not just for our spiritual health but our physical health also. Our thoughts affect our total well-being. Worry can destroy our physical health and our mental health. It adds nothing to the situation but pain and discomfort.
There are also many Proverbs regarding worrying. In the King James Version, anxiety is described as heaviness—which is exactly what worrying does, it gives us a “heaviness” feeling, especially in our gut. Proverbs 12:25 explains that this heaviness of worrying will make our hearts depressed.
Depression not only affects us physically, for example shutting down our digestion, but it also affects everyone around us. So, if we are to be lights in this world, then we need to stop worrying. It robs us of our light, and can possibly make us a stumbling block for others.
Trust me, I am preaching to the choir on this one. I am notorious for worrying. I am working hard to overcome it. I know some people that worry so habitually that if they do not have anything to worry about they will find something to worry about. I do not want to be like that. It is not healthy for me, and it definitely affects my family in a negative way. I do not want to show my children how to worry. The worrying “skill” is not something that I want to teach them.
Therefore, I need the opposite of worry and anxiety, which is peace. There are 400 scriptures in the KJV with the word peace in it. Not all of them pertain to the peace I am writing about, but that does give you an idea of how important peace is to God. One of my favorite peace scriptures that I like to recite to myself when I am in a bundle of nerves is:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7, emphasis mine)
We cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), and worry is not showing faith. I know from my own experience that it is easier to succumb to worry when things are not going exactly how I hoped (or if some new trial hits me) than it is to have peace that everything is going to work out for the good. But, I also know that these are the times that God wants me to let it go and trust Him. These are the times that I need to remember to “cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22, emphasis mine).
And, to remember the words from the Messiah Himself, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).