I met with an old friend the other day over a drink to catch up and reconnect. It had been a good while since we’d seen each other and even longer since we’d actually sat down and chatted. As we caught up, he began telling me this laundry list of things currently going wrong in his life. Now before I continue let me tell you, I have been avoiding listening to other peoples problems like the plague recently. I felt like I had too many of my own problems to be able to help anyone else with theirs.
As he started telling me about what was going on, I dreaded having to sit through it (which in and of itself is a terrible mindset to have). He wasn’t saying it in a whiny or complaining way, he was just presenting himself and what he was going through in an honest and vulnerable way. As he began wrapping up his recent history, he surprised me by ending it with “but I’m not going to let those things control my life”. It’s great that he had this mentality but it surprised me because for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been a major worrier. I mean stressed out all the time kind of personality.
Both of us having gone through some recent troubles, our troubles became the main topic of our conversation. You see, I’m a split personality when it comes to worrying. There are some things about which I’m very laid back and there are some things about which I worry until I stress myself right into a panic. When it came to my divorce, my relocation, and my job change this year, I panicked. A lot. Having experienced those things and having reacted the way I did, I found myself very impressed that my friend was having such a healthy attitude towards his problems.
A couple days after meeting with him, I was having some quiet time to just pour into scripture and I landed on the 6th chapter of Matthew. Matthew 6 is a part of the sermon on the mount and is probably best known for Jesus introducing what has become known as the Lord’s prayer. In the last few verses of the chapter however (Matthew 6:25-34), Jesus talks about worry and anxiety. None of the verses stand out to me more than verse 27:
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
As I thought about my friend’s reaction to his troubles and I thought about what Christ was saying here, I had a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment (currently watching the “Every Simpson’s Ever” Marathon). How much more simple can it be? We all get so wrapped up in our troubles and our concerns, the big and the small, and we think that stressing over it will somehow help the situation. Not only does it not add any hours to your life as the verse above tells us but there is significant medical research which suggests that worry is awful for your heart health.
I know it’s easy to get caught up in stress. It’s easy to let worry invade our thoughts and control our reactions…but because it’s so easy, it’s important that we spend even more time thinking on the wonderful stress relief our Savior provides. I’ll be the first to tell you that as much you as try, you can’t predict the future. Things will not go the way we want them to; people will change, places will change, situations will change. In this world that seems to be ever-changing, let’s learn to appreciate a God that is never-changing; a God that doesn’t want you to worry.