I tend to worry about many things.
- Will I make it to my meeting on time? Almost always!
- Will anyone else be there? Usually.
- Will my knees, or heart, hold up during this run? They have done OK recently.
- Am I going to be able to find a place to hang my hammock tonight (while backpacking)? Never failed yet.
- Did I get the doors locked before going to bed? I usually check them twice.
- Do I have my keys with me? Always check multiple times before going outside.
- Will I have enough income if I quit working and the economy tanks?
- If anyone really knew me, would they like me?
- Are my kids going to be OK?
Now I don’t lose much sleep worrying. But I do have to admit to a certain amount of anxiety over things that sometimes I have no control over. So Jesus’ admonition to his disciples about worry does kind of hit home.
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?Luke 12:22-26 NIV
So what can worry do for me? It can ensure that I get my house locked up at night, and don’t get locked out. But it is debatable if that is the result of worry or a result of being a bit OCD. Worry is not going to get anyone else to a meeting. It will not keep my knees working pain-free. It won’t help me to spot a place to hang the hammock. And it sure won’t guarantee that the economy doesn’t put me out onto the street holding a cardboard sign.
Worrying seldom helps me to get someplace on time, run faster, or enjoy retirement any better. Worry does not help me to be a better person, make a difference in the world around me, or be more useful in God’s kingdom. About all that worry will do is occupy at least some portion of my thoughts, keeping me from thinking about more useful or pleasant things.
I like Jesus’ question concerning worry adding an hour to my life. Seldom will worry add to the length or quality of my life. If anything, it detracts from the quality and can reduce the length. So why do it? Maybe because it gives me some illusion of control over things that I really have no control over.
How much better to just make the most of every moment and trust God for tomorrow? Spend the worry time doing something more productive. Something that will actually make a difference, both in your life as well as the lives of those you come in contact with.