What If Today…You Stopped Worrying?

“Consider the lilies of the field…” ~Matthew 6:28

Consider how worry and faith look to you. I’ll bet you see worrying represented by someone with a frown on their face or wringing their hands, and when you think on the word “faith” you remember stories of  heroes great and small.

But really, a lot of us flip that, don’t we?

We live worry like an action word and faith as a feeling.

We make lists, have imaginary conversations, and daydream about worst-case scenarios, replaying them as we hope for different and better outcomes all the while watching the clock as it ticks towards a day followed by another restless night.

Right?

The seeds of  worry are fear and doubt and a need to control. There is never enough. And if there is, there isn’t enough to share.

Where do we stand when we worry? We stand in the future that hasn’t happened.

Worriers also live in a stubbornly persistent present vowing that nothing will ever get better but the worst will certainly get worse. In that frame of mind, answers to prayers aren’t seen, not because prayers never left the lips, but because eyes refuse to look to new horizons, and hearts harden to possibilities for fear of trusting and being disappointed.

Worry kills the life inside of us one thought at a time.

Faith, on the other hand opens our hearts to gratitude, and acceptance  of what we have- that we have enough and more will be provided in due time… we learn to trust.

Without worry as a constant companion we seek to fill other people’s needs with what we have because we feel like we have plenty.

People of faith solve problems easily because they see abundance and they know where it came from. Even when there is poverty, sickness and disease, they acknowledge that there simultaneously exists hope that colors the bleakest situations.

I’m reminded of Viktor Frankl and his attitude while he was a prisoner of war in Nazi prison camps for 3 years:

“Naturally only a few people were capable of reaching great spiritual heights. But a few were given the chance to attain human greatness even through their apparent worldly failure and death, an accomplishment which in ordinary circumstances they would have never achieved. To the others of us, the mediocre and the half-hearted, the words of Bismarck could be applied: Life is like being at the dentist. You always think that the worst is still to come, and yet it is over already.” Varying this, we could say that most men in a concentration camp believed that the real opportunities of life had passed. Yet, in reality, there was an opportunity and a challenge. One could make a victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate, as did a majority of the prisoners. — (P.72, “Man’s Search For Meaning”)

Remember Ghandi? Here’s what he had to say:

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry,

and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed

to worry about anything whatsoever. ” ~Mahatma Gandhi

I consider true leaders to be those people who, no matter their age or circumstance, stop worrying and start serving.

Here’s one more familiar quote from Viktor Frankl:

“We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. — (P.65-66, “Man’s Search For Meaning”)

  • Do you think worrying is easy to overcome?
  • How have you overcome the “worry” habit?

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17 thoughts on “What If Today…You Stopped Worrying?

    • Love the imagery, Stan. I think you’re right. We can spend a lot of time and energy fighting against what is so, expressing our belief that life isn’t fair, or at least not to us!
      Thanks for the visit, and thank for the link to your post! It was a good one!

    • I wrote this post after my frustration of well-intending, loving people’s worrying over me reached critical mass. I needed to understand the dynamics of my relationships so that I could see what I could to to stop the barrage of “you should be worrying about (fill in the blank)!”. That’s when it hit me that some people choose to worry and really think that they’re helping. But it’s annoying! I work hard, pray, am responsible, and care about my life. What is communicated by their worry is the opposite. Worrying wastes time and energy to me. My motto is if it’s serious enough to need attention, get to work fixing it. And if you can’t fix it, ask for help. If no help comes, learn to live with it. But to project into the future scenarios that haven’t played out yet? That’s a recipe for frustration for me! Thanks, Jack. Sorry for the rant! LOL!

  1. Moms can’t help but worry! LOL.. To worry at times is hard to not do! I have learned that it really doesn’t do any good! What will be, will be. If your worrying yourself sick then you’re not looking for a solution! If there is no solution you can see or find, well you just have to put your faith in that Dude that’s bigger than us all! I have to say, it works! Take time to pray and ask then have that Faith is all it takes. Amazing how things seem resolve after that.

    Great post!

    As Always ~*~

    • I’ve always kept to myself with other moms because I really don’t worry like they do, and I’ve always felt like I come across as uncaring or irresponsible. I just have a different way of seeing life. I’ve come to terms with the “worst that could happen” and figure it’a all about choices and consequences. I really want to help my children understand that concept so that they know that with most things they can choose the path they want to go down in order to enjoy a certain quality of life. Connor shocked me this summer at a cookout where he laid out a simple plan to turn his grades around and why he was going to do it. I knew about his grades. But they’re HIS. He has to own them and come to terms with the path he’s going down. It finally clicked with him! Maybe that’s why I don’t worry. I see life as a journey that each of us travels for ourselves at first (which leads to selfish choices) and others ultimately (serving in your life’s purpose), IF that vision kicks in. I can provide a safe and loving environment where they feel loved for who they uniquely are. But they need time and freedom to work that out. What do I bring to the table? A listening ear and a loving heart that trusts that they really want a good life! Thanks, Ann!

  2. Pingback: Zombies, Self Defeat and Consequence. And other social media DOHs. « The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna

  3. Hi Betsy, I’ve tried a few times to comment on your posts but keep getting stuck in the WP.com bubble and then my comments disappear. Just want you to know that I am reading your beautiful posts, in case this one passes “go”! Worry has been a lifelong issue for me, until the things that I worried about started to actually manifest. And…one way or the other, I got through them. That’s when I began to see the Faith involved and the truth in Gandhi’s statement.

    • Julie,
      Thank you for reading my posts! That means a lot to me. Sorry about the commenting system. I have problems on people’s blogs that use Disqus. And I love all of them!
      I wonder, Julie, if people who have a habit of worrying know that they have a choice to stop? I also wonder if they count the cost of the emotional drain it not only puts on themselves but on the people around them? It feels very condescending to be on the receiving end of someone’s worry- as if I hadn’t had the thought myself, or hadn’t tried to address the focus of their concern? If we are the worriers, do we feel alone in the world, like we don’t have any support? Is that why some people worry? It can’t be because worriers have seen the worst life has to offer. I’ve seen and experienced a lot and choose not to worry. So, I’m back to the original question, can YOU choose to stop worrying? Interesting experiment to track in a journal. No?
      Thanks for your comment, Julie. I see you at Jack’s all the time. Hope to get to know you better!

      • I don’t know the answers but I can tell you I was born that way! I had to un-learn it and the combo of worry/anxiety on behalf of others was HUGE. Would they come home? Were they safe? What would happen? Would they get hurt or feel badly? I only gave it up because I learned I was an empath and then suddenly I understood what was going on, and could just let it go. Mostly 🙂

  4. This was a really good post for people to read. I’m not a worrier, per se, but I’ve known them and they tend to frustrate me to no end. With few exceptions, worrying seems to provide little in the way of productivity. If one wants to be unproductive, then I suggest procrastination. It is a lot more fun, and usually involves snacks, video games, and on occasion, naps.

    • Ha! Well said, Brian! I get it. Procrastination is knowing that there’s a way, and that you’ll get around to it, but right no you just don’t feel like it! LOL! That’s priceless! Thanks, Brian. Posted anything lately? I wish people would leave links here to their most recent posts. Stan does that. That way I don’t have to worry about missing any…I can just procrastinate reading them! Did you get your subscribe by email fixed?

  5. I see worry as indecision. When I start to worry and doubt myself, I am no longer following my heart but have stepped instead into a void of indecision not knowing which way to go, or which way is the best way. I can no longer “hear” myself because of all the static. Thanks for sharing this, good things to consider.

    • I’m glad you said that, Michelle. I was cleaning and thinking a little bit ago and it hit me that what you said is right. It’s indecision AND inaction. We essentially get paralyzed by our thoughts. If you can come back and tell me how you overcome that. And what do you say to people who are always worrying about you and constantly trying to engage you in a “worry” conversation? Thanks, Michelle.

      • Yes, we do get paralyzed by our thoughts. I guess for me when people constantly worry about me, I go back to what you say about faith. They don’t have faith in me, but really what it is, is they don’t have faith in themselves. They are projecting the situation and seeing themselves in it and how they might cope. It is no longer about me, but rather, them and their own fear. And although they mean well, they are not really attuned to my needs. So I don’t hold on to it, because I do have great faith it will all work out. And if I can remember that in a moment of clarity, I can move forward. 🙂

      • I do believe that-that I’m really seeing and hearing their own fears and insecurities. I really want to be able to stay still and say something like, “Thank you for caring,” and risk the quiet afterwards. But most of the time the issue is still pushed and it feels like I need to defend myself! Maybe I should try a question like, what are you afraid of” instead. Thanks for coming back, Michelle!

      • Exactly. You know what is right for you. Your comments helped me today to see a few things too. Thank you, have a wonderful day!

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