We waste too much time in our worrying
“WHATS THE use of worrying, it never was worthwhile, so pack up your trouble in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.”
Those words from the old World War I song, composed in 1915 have a deep resonance with many of us today. Most of us worry from time to time. Some worry occasionally, only when difficult situations arise. Others worry more often, usually about specific areas of their lives, such as health, a key relationship, children, money, job security or the like. Some people worry constantly. If they have nothing specific to worry about, they will think something up. Even worse, they might unconsciously create a difficult problem or situation, just to have something “real” to worry about. They are what we call “born worriers”!
Worry is part of human nature, despite our best efforts, it's just something we do. But as the song says, there's no use in worrying, it won't achieve anything. So we shouldn't worry. But of course, that would be all too easy to say, it's a whole different thing to do. Some people can't help but worry. I'm thinking of people who are so often struck with bouts of depression, who worry about even the smallest things, even though they know that it won't help.
Jesus even speaks about the futility of worrying. “ 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? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Many people today have good cause to worry though. A lot of people, even in Ireland, a first world country, have real and pressing worries about where they will get food, or clothes, or many basic provisions. As the economic downturn bites harder each passing week, more and more people are star- ing poverty and hardship in the face. And those words of Jesus may run a little hollow for us.
So what to do? Well first of all, we need to realise that there are things that we have no control over. Over the span of your lifetime, worrying accounts for hours and hours of invaluable time that you will never get back. Because worrying accomplishes absolutely nothing. Worrying won't help you solve a problem or bring about a solution, yet we waste time on it constantly.
To successfully cope with worry, we need to try to take control of it. When we realise we are in charge of our own attitude, and our own mood, we can then move to a place in our minds where worry no longer has such a devastating effect on us. I came across the following five point plan to cope with worry. It's not quite the Fine Gael plan, in fact, it might even be better!
First, fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, realising the maxim “our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Second, never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them. As the U.S. President Eisenhower said “let's never waste a minute thinking about people we don't like”.
Third, instead of worrying about ingratitude, let's expect it. Remember that Jesus healed ten lepers in one day, and only one thanked Him. Fourth, count your blessings, not your troubles! Fifth, when fate hands you a lemon, just try to make a lemonade.
We won't always be able to get away from worry, but we can cope with it if we learn how. We have the capacity to worry ourselves into an early grave, but we also have the capacity to prevent it. For finally, we can forget about our own unhappiness by trying to create a little happiness for others. “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”
Worry is part of human nature, despite our best efforts, it's just something we do.