A recent article in Reader’s Digest was entitled “What,Me, Worry? You Bet I Do”. A tongue in cheek tale by Donal Ryan on how he worries about everything from if he remembered to close the refrigerator door to nuclear proliferation. He finally oddly found a little peace when the plane he was on had landing gear trouble. Why peace? Because he let go and realized he could do absolutely nothing about the situation! Why do we worry so much? Especially in America where our most basic needs are provided for without much trouble and yet we are filled with anxiety.
Worry is like a rocking chair. You may feel like you are doing something but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
I read another article in Readers’ Digest, quite awhile ago, that profoundly spoke to me and I wish I had saved it. A young intern was working a second job at night in the college cafeteria. He would often complain to himself about his difficult situation. He noticed the elderly janitor would sit quietly and contentedly eating a liverwurst sandwich every evening. So he took the time to talk with the man and learned he was a Holocaust survivor. In essence, the elderly man replied to the grumbling intern, that life is a matter of perspective. “If you lose your job, then you have a situation. If you break your back, then you have a problem.”
I believe that by retraining our minds to evaluate our situation we can decrease a lot of unnecessary worry. We can do that by using what I call “God’s measuring stick” which is found in a passage in the book of Phillippians.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:6-9 (NLT)
We can ask ourselves, Is it (what we are anxious about) true? Is it a worthy cause? Is it the right thing to do,time or place? Is it pure, lining up with God’s word? Is it lovely, admirable or praiseworthy? Will this matter tomorrow, next month or year? We often waste time worrying about things that really don’t matter. How does the situation “measure up”? Things that do matter should be brought before God in prayer and left in trust and faith in His hands. When we do this we will experience His peace.
Jesus said, That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?….30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? …….“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matt 6:25-34 (NLT)