Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
- Matthew 6:27
I'm a natural born worrier. I actually think there might be a 'worry gene' than runs in my family: my mother is a worrier, I'm a worrier, and I already see it in my 5-year-old daughter. Knowing that worrying won't change the outcome doesn't help. I find it hard to let go of my worries, to put them in God's hands, and to trust that He will resolve the situation.

I remember reading once that worrying about something is a form of blasphemy - because if we are worried then we do not have faith that God will help us. That's quite a strong statement, but I can see the logic in it. If we fully trusted that God would take care of our problems, then there would be no need to worry. But it's not always that easy. Even if we are willing to leave everything in God's hands, if we don't get an immediate resolution, or if it looks like things are getting worse, the worry starts to creep back.

Chronic worrying can consume you. Some people even develop disorders: agoraphobics who worry what will happen if they go outside, so they stay locked up in their house; or germaphobics who worry about getting sick so are constantly washing and cleaning. Of course I'm not saying that if these people had faith then their worries would disappear. They cannot control their behavior. But we can see from their actions how worrying too much can destroy your life.

Sometimes having faith is hard. Giving God all your worries is very hard, maybe impossible. So start small. Choose something minor that has been on your mind, and offer it up to God. Vow to leave it in His hands, and to trust in His methods. Each time you find this worry starting to creep back, remind yourself that it is in God's hands now, and offer it back up to Him. It's okay to keep praying about the situation. St Paul tells us that we should pray without ceasing, and Jesus Himself tells us that persistence pays off (Luke 11:5-10). But at the end of the prayer leave it all in God's care, and have faith that He has everything under control.

When you let the worry go, you make room for God's peace to enter. If you can trust that God will resolve your problems, the worry will slip away and your heart will be at peace, just as God intended it to be. Let go. Let God. And maybe, if we can lower our stress by worrying a little less, maybe we can add a day or two to our life-spans.

This is another reading full of great verses. In addition to verse 27, I also loved 28-29, and 32-34.

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