September 15, 2015

Does Worry Accomplish Anything?

Go ahead. Close your eyes and think hard about something you’d like to change. Concentrate, now. Pour all your worries into it. Let’s try to overcome that illness, relationship challenge, debt…If you fret long enough, you might even be able to get yourself that promotion, or new job.

Whaaaat? You say it’s not working? You can’t change your situation by only agonizing over it?

Well, the Bible is in agreement with that attitude.  Matthew 6:26-28 says that birds and lilies don’t toil, worry, or create and store their own food--yet God feeds them. He gives them more glory than Solomon at the peak of his power. Since I am a little less than five feet tall, I really relate to verse 27:

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”

We’re in charge of our attitude

Pastor Joel Osteen reminds us that there will always be events and people in life beyond our management.  He says, “We can’t control what happens to us; we can only control our response.”

That empowering philosophy is right in line with the well-known Serenity Prayer authored by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Viktor Franklis an example of a man who refused to let even dire circumstances manipulate his reaction. The late, brilliant neurologist and psychiatrist was a Nazi concentration camp survivor.  He maintained that he survived by not allowing his sadistic captors to determine what he was going to think about himself.

Viktor Frankl knew that he could not control the Nazis in any way; but, he could control his reaction to the Nazis. He chose not to internalize their cruelty. In this way, Viktor became a Victor (Pun intended.)

Worry is Impractical

There’s an Irish poem, original author anonymous. The poem puts worry in the tiny box that it deserves; chops it down to size. The message of the poem is that we have no reason to worry, because it won’t change anything. This is my own re-phrasing of the poem:

Why worry? We are always either sick, or well. If we’re well, we’re good. If we’re ill, we’ll either get better, or we’ll die. If we get better, that’s great. If we die, we’ll either go to Heaven, or Hell. If we go to Heaven, we’re good. However, if we go to “the other place”, we’ll be so busy shaking hands with friends that we won’t have time to worry.
My Conclusion

Worry accomplishes nothing. Obsessing over situations and people beyond our control gets us nowhere. We will only succeed when we turn our lives over to the Creator of the universe.

How have you cast your care to God?

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