Worry makes me worried! Worry can spoil a great day, it can hinder a great relationship, it pours cold water on passion, steals your sleep, diminishes our health and worst of all, for every second, minute, hour and year spent worrying, no situation has changed for the better because of it. Not one. Worry really is a complete waste of time.
Having said that, worry is a negative result of a positive attribute. People worry because they care! People are anxious because they are concerned for people and the situations that affect people. It has a selfless origin. Now that’s the encouraging bit, take heart, you care, well done.
But what can you do to protect yourself from this king of all time wasters?
The first thing to do is to recognise it’s pointlessness. Sometimes, when I am speaking to somebody who is worried, I say a few comforting words and hopefully point out why they don’t need to worry. As soon as I have removed the cause of their angst, they hop onto another subject to worry about! I take the same approach and they leap to another worry! This can go on and on, because that person has decided to worry, they are happy to carry worry. They are content with its presence, they know about worry, they’re good at worry and so perversely it feels more comfortable to worry than not to worry. Of course, how ever familiar and well acquainted with this emotion we are, it is not a friend. It may be closer than a brother, but it isn’t a brother or benevolent relation of any kind, worry is our enemy. So it’s important to recognise it’s malevolence. No good will come from worry – full stop.
Secondly, worry is sneaky. Because of its closeness to genuine care, the line which separates them is not always obvious. I can be involved in an issue, thinking it through, planning the details, being proactive. Then maybe my wife, colleague or even myself notice that I’m anxious. Initially I don’t know why, but upon investigation I recognise that my thoughtfulness has become worry. The difference is clear, it is that thoughtfulness concerns things I can do something about, whereas worry is thoughtfulness about things I have no power over.
Thirdly, take responsibility. Sometimes, I mull things over and get myself into a “tizz” because I don’t take action on things that I am able to change. I think that concern is the only action that I can apply to the situation. Whereas, there are many situations my action is all that is needed to dispel the worry. Sometimes, I’ll procrastinate. Sometimes, I’ll think that somebody else should take action. These are positions of self imposed powerlessness. Take action, change your situation and let worry flee.
Finally, recognise that the worst probably won’t happen, and if it does, it doesn’t matter! How many times have we worried ourselves to sleep over situations that have been just fine in the end? Also, the bible explains that everything works out for our benefit if we trust God. Good things and bad things happen to us, but that doesn’t mean our lives are ruined. Overcoming a bad situation develops character and I want good character rather than an easy life. I want to rise above adversity rather than worry about it. I want to soar above life’s disasters rather than let them sink me. The knowledge that God cares about us and wants the best for us, gives me confidence when faced with trouble. It makes sense to ask him for his help, because he alone knows what the future holds. He wants the best for you. He knows what’s best for you.
So don’t worry, recognise it is a waste of time. Learn to see it sneaking up on you. Take responsibility for things you can change and Be Happy because it is very unlikely to be as bad as you think and even if it is, then you can let the bad situation strengthen you.