When I was 22, my family drove to Baltimore to drop my brother off at grad school. We unloaded everything off the truck and into his bare apartment. The whole family was feeling that natural anxiety that comes with the end of one stage of life and the beginning of another. Our trepidation was multiplied by the fact that his new place was in a rough part of town. When it was time for my parents and I to leave him, we joined hands in the living room, and I was asked to pray. “Dear God,” I began, “thank you that we don’t have to worry about anything. Amen.” After uttering those words, I felt pretty good about the whole situation, but I wasn’t quite loquacious enough for the rest of the family. Once everyone finished glaring at me with heads still bowed, my Mom jumped in and filled the next five and a half minutes with sincere words of thanks for how far God had brought us, requests that her baby be protected, traveling mercies, etc….
Looking back, the psychology of the moment did necessitate a longer prayer than the one I gave. I mean, we’re Baptists. The only time a prayer can be that short is grace before a meal. But what I said was right. We don’t have to worry about anything. It’s not that we should ignore the problems that come our way, but why fret about them? Jesus asks a rhetorical question in Matthew 6:27: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to [his or her] life?” Even if your natural inclination is to worry fret over the vicissitudes of life, you must realize that it’s not doing you any good. In fact, given all that we know about the mind/body connection, a frenetic, burdened person is much more likely to experience stress and all the physical ailments (like indigestion, headaches, colds, diarrhea, ulcers, muscle pain and stiffness, and more…) that can result.
If you were a worrier before this post, I probably haven’t fully convinced you that it’s not necessary, but I’ll be back….