Of all the living things that God created, human beings are the only ones that worry. And we worry about everything - petrol prices, the stock market, taxes, jobs, paying the bills, marriages, relationships, parents worry about children, children worry about parents. You name it, somebody is worrying about it! If you are from this part of the world, then you even have a lot more to worry about – bad roads, electricity, safety and security. Worry seems to be legitimate around here.
Near the end of his life, Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Always remember that the outcome of a situation will still be the same whether you worried about it or not!
Worry wastes a lot of emotional energy. Have you realized how few of the things we worry about actually happen? One survey says 40% of the things we worry about never happen; another 30% of our worries are in the past, and we can't do anything about them. 12% concern other people, and are really none of our business anyway. 10% are about sickness which we can do very little to control. Only 8% of the things we worry about are actually worth worrying about! In my opinion, even the 8% can be challenged.
Listen to the advice of the creator of the world.
"That's why I'm telling you to stop worrying about your life-what you will eat or what you will drink-or about your body-what you will wear. Life is more than food, isn't it, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky. They don't plant or harvest or gather food into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. You are more valuable than they are, aren't you? Can any of you add a single hour to your span of life by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider the lilies in the field and how they grow. They don't work or spin yarn, but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. Now if that is the way God clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and thrown into an oven tomorrow, won't he clothe you much better-you who have little faith? So don't ever worry by saying, 'What are we going to eat?' or 'What are we going to drink?' or 'What are we going to wear?" (Mathew 6:25-31)
A wise man once said “Worry is interest paid in advance on something you may never own”. How true! Worry indeed is like a rocking chair. It gets us nowhere!! Worry never climbed a hill. Worry never paid a bill. Worry never dried a tear. Worry never calmed a fear. Nothing wears faster than worry.
What then can we do to be free from worry? Let me share a few thoughts with you.
1. Cast your cares upon God
One man took a paper bag, wrote 'God' on it, and taped it high on the back of his kitchen door. Whenever he prayed about the things he was worried about, like his job or his family, he would write them down on a piece of paper, and put it in the bag. Then he made a rule for himself. If he started worrying about a matter that he'd turned over to God, he had to climb up on a chair and fish that paper out of the bag. He said it was pretty revealing when he saw just how much time he spent sifting through those scraps of paper. You see, we can trust God to be there, to care for us, to provide for us. That's the good news, so why worry?
So let's pray about our worries. As someone said, 'If our worries aren't worth praying about, they aren't worth worrying about.' I read about a theological college student who had a sign on his wall: 'Why pray when you can worry?' Hmmm. Read 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 55: 22
2. Develop an attitude of gratitude
Can I tell you a story? I call it the story of two buckets.
A traditional well always has two buckets. As one is going down, the other is on its way up. Long time ago, there lived two buckets in the same well. It was noticed that no matter what happens, one was always sad, whining and looking morose and melancholic. It was always complaining about the situation of things all around. The other however, on the contrary, was always happy and motivated. No matter what happens, it was always in high spirits. Both buckets used to wonder what was happening to the other when they meet somewhere along the line in the well. The sad bucket was always wondering “why is this guy always happy? Are we not going through the same experience? Are we not faced with the same difficulties? The happy bucket on the other hand was always wondering aloud “what in the world is wrong with this guy? Why is he always looking morose and melancholic ? One day, they decided to talk and ask why the other was reacting differently in the same situation. The happy bucket asked first “why is it that you look sad and morose all the time? Is anything the matter? The sad bucket replied. “Everything is the matter! I am not happy here. Can you imagine, no matter how full I come up from this well, I always go down empty!! I am living an empty life!” “Waoh” replied the happy bucket. “Do you know what? This is the very same reason why I am always happy. No matter how empty I go down into this well, I always come up full!!!! I am living a fulfilling life!
An attitude of gratitude will deliver you from worry. Be grateful for what you have and you will soon get what you want. Count your blessings, name them one by one. During your times of trouble, dwell on good things. Think about God's blessings - his provision and care.
To be continued......