Sisters. Older sisters to be more precise. They can be a nuisance to they’re younger brother.
And when I was a just a little guy, about seven years of age, and my two sisters were in their teens, I worried quite a bit. I worried about the practical jokes I knew they were going to play on me. I worried about never having a chance to use the bathroom – we only had one, and they always timed it perfect, reaching the doorway seconds ahead of me.
I worried about whether or not they would catch me trying to listen to their record players. Okay, that worry was actually initiated by me. But whatever, you get the point, don’t you? I was worried.
See, to a seven-year-old boy, these were reasons to worry. I felt as though the moment and event I was experiencing was the most important occurrence in the world.
At seven, I didn’t realize that there were men who had come home from a war, only to find out their country was turning their backs on their heroic service. I didn’t understand that there were people around the world starving to death, hooked on drugs, or desperately looking for someone to show them a life worth living. Yet I managed to worry so much that I was forced to seek medical attention for stomach pains. The doctor prescribed medication to calm my upset stomach.
Looking back, I find it hard to believe that I let my older sisters’ teasing worry me so. I had never heard the Bible’s answer concerning such worry. And now that I have, how I so wish someone had shared with me these verses back then: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:26-27 NIV)
And Jesus tells us not to “worry about your life” in Matthew 6:25 (NIV). I find much comfort in this message, and now that I have read and understood the verses in the Bible concerning worry, I know longer need medication to stifle the ill effects of worry. In fact, it has been many years since I have let worry devastate my physical being.
I believe Jesus is well aware that humans struggle with worry on a daily basis, and that He addressed this issue so directly to free us from the bondage of worry.
We all know people who worry constantly over situations they have little or no control over. Now I’m not talking about a person who is worried about paying a bill on time, so an extra effort is made to find a way to pay the bill on time. Nor am I addressing people who anticipate another driver possibly pulling out in front of them at a red light.
No, what I’m talking about it is the person who worries that the Fortune 500 company he is employed by might go out of business. I’m talking about the woman who worries about her 401K status to the point of bringing about physical ailments. That kind of worry is destructive and not the kind of life God wants us to live.
God wants us to enjoy life, not worrying about the things we can’t control.
Try this little experiment for one week. Keep a small notebook journal with you throughout an entire seven days. Every time you find yourself in a state of worry, write down what it is you are worried about. At the end of the week, put a big red X over every single item that is either completely out of your control or ended with a positive result. You will be amazed at how many red Xs begin to appear on the pages during your review of the past week.
Next step? Use the time you spent on wasted worry to study God’s Word, revel in His creation, and communicate with His Son. But keep the notebook somewhere close-by, a reminder of the distractions Jesus commanded us to avoid.