There is enough trouble…

“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Mark Twain

How do you achieve the right balance between thinking things through and anticipating problems and challenges, and getting lost worrying about the things you can’t control?

It is so easy to get wrapped up in something that might happen, or might not, and lose all sense of what is good and what is true. I am guilty of this far too often. When I get lost in my troubles, real or imagined, this is the verse that I turn to to help me break free from incessant worry.

‘”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

It is amazing how much your perspective can shift if you seek to embody this principle. There is no need to borrow trouble from tomorrow and lose yourself worrying about things that might not happen. It doesn’t add value and it bogs you down.

No worries…

“Problems are meant to be solved, but unfortunately, a lot of people choose to complain, worry, and cry about them.”

Edmond Mbiaka

It amazes me how much energy is spent by people worrying and complaining about problems. I have often wondered if all that energy were instead focused on overcoming challenges and fixing things what the world would be like.

Now, this isn’t to say that I don’t worry, in fact I am guilty of spending too much energy worrying and thinking about things that are not within my control. But therein lies the key to overcoming problems. Find out what is within your control and focus your energy on that, instead of complaining, worrying and crying. Whenever I get sideways and start worrying about some problem or challenge, that is how I reset my head.

What energy are you spending today complaining, worrying or crying? Where can you spend that energy instead?

Where should you focus?

“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

Epictetus

It isn’t comfortable not being in control. If we aren’t careful we can drive ourselves crazy worrying about the things we can’t control instead of focusing our efforts and energy on those things that we can. Whenever I lose sight of this I find the following scripture both grounding and uplifting.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:6-9 ESV

At the end of the day I know that whatever it is that I am worrying about is far less impactful than the challenges and persecution faced by so many. When I spend my energy worrying I am putting my effort into things that don’t impact the lives of others and don’t honor my Savior and what he has blessed me with. When I remember to think and reflect on this, everything comes back into focus.

Fear not…

“Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Corrie Ten Boom

Thinking things through is a great skill and one that will pay dividends when things don’t go exactly as you planned (and that will happen to all of us sooner or later). But worrying, obsessing, getting lost in the fear of “what if” or “why me” doesn’t help improve our chances of success.

There is a big difference between preparing and worrying. How we handle this difference makes such an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Planning is proactive and positive. Worry is negative and emotionally draining.

There are so many good bible verses on worry but here are two of my absolute favorites that I go to whenever I cross the chasm between planning and worry.

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” Luke 12:25-26

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Where does worry belong?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬

One day at a time.  Focus on his kingdom and righteousness first. That is the message Jesus was sharing in this verse during his Sermon on the Mount.  I think it is worth reading the entire passage that leads into this verse to better understand the context of this specific verse.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34 

There is a lot in this passage to really chew on and meditate on.  I know that I for one can get lost in living for the future, planning for, and worrying about, things that aren’t even important in the broad scheme of things.  Through worry I can also focus on the wrong things that aren’t the areas or things I should be focused on.  

It is amazing that when you do what is written above, the worry ceases to be the idol that controls you.  You can put it in the back seat, which is certainly where it belongs and put what’s important in the front…

 

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