I wrote a column a while back about how much energy we put into things that don’t matter. Most of the column was devoted to being angry, holding grudges, and basically keeping ourselves in a negative state. Too much energy.
But I didn’t really address how much time we spend worrying. Fretting. Fussing. Often times, what we are worrying about can’t be controlled anyway. Again, too much energy.
Our sermon yesterday was about worry. I know many of you are aware that God told us he’d provide for us. We should never worry about our needs being taken care of. Notice I said needs. Not wants.
How many of you know people who have made worry their favorite pastime? Some people watch “Dr. Oz” and start worrying that they have every illness he addresses on his show. Some people wake up nights and worry. Then, they can’t sleep, they don’t get enough rest, and the vicious cycle goes on and on.
There are people who make plans for something and from the moment they make the plans, they worry that everything will go just right. They worry that every little picture in their mind won’t turn out the way they picture it.
I think the biggest problem is the “what if” problem. What if I run out of money? What if I get sick? What if someone gets hurt? What if the elastic in my underwear gives out at the wrong moment? There is plenty to worry about.
Our penchant for worry also stems from our need to control everything. We need to know every detail and have every question answered. We wish everyone would do things exactly the way we want them to. We wish everybody would just do it our way. We are, by nature, control freaks.
How often have I started worrying about a particularly busy week? How will we get everything done? How will we rest? How will everyone get to where they are supposed to go at the right time? What if something is forgotten? On and on it goes.
But then, when I am actually going about my business and I’m actually knee deep in that dreaded week I’ve been worrying about, I realize something: it’s not that bad. When I am actually in there, getting things done and doing what needs to be done, it’s not as painful as I thought it would be. Too much energy. Worry got me nowhere.
I remember when I started working at a department store during college. My first position at the store was that of a checkout guy. I typed in prices, totaled it all up, and straightened my gum and impulse buy aisle when there was no one to check out. During busy times, my checkout line would start to stretch back into the store. It was stressful. I worried. I tried to move faster. Every time I looked up, it seemed I’d never get the line taken care of.
A wise lady who’ d been checking a long time told me just to put my head down, focus on the current transaction, and just keep moving. There was no need, she said, to be looking up at that long line and worrying. Just keep going and “git ‘er done.”
I guess one of the most convicting things my pastor said in his sermon was “Did you know Jesus commands us not to worry?” There it was. We are commanded not to worry.
Yes, I’ve been envious of those folks who don’t seem to worry. The older I get, the easier it is. The more I pray and the closer I am to God, the easier it gets. We really do need to place our worry and our fears in God’s hands.
He has never let me down.