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by Bill Denton
And He said to His disciples, For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. (Luke 12:22-23, NASB)
All the water in the world
All the hardships of this world,
Are you a worrier?
If youre like a lot of people, worry just might be one of the things that makes life miserable. Its not uncommon for people to lose sleep, drop weight, develop nervous tics, suffer ulcers or other gastric disorders, or get pretty sick in other ways, all from worry. Worry just might be one of the elements that feeds a grand variety of mental and emotional disorders, and thought we dont usually diagnose things this way, worry is the cause of countless spiritual maladies as well.
Not long after my wife and I married, we were talking about some events happening in our lives. I shared with her something I had dreamed up while a teenager to help me deal with worry. It goes something like this: If you do, you will, but if you dont, you wont. If youre not able, you dont have to.
I suspect that wont make a bit of sense to anyone but me, but it helps me with a framework for thinking things through and deciding which things are worth my deep concern. As Ive thought about that little ditty in the years since it came to me as a teenager, Ive decided it deserves some deeper thought and explanation. I really believe there are kernels of truth there that can help relieve worry.
First, if you do, you will. Now, perhaps that should be, If you can, you should, or something like that. The point is simply this: things within your ability are the things you can do. If they are beyond your ability, you can choose either to extend your abilities (a real possibility in many cases), or accept the fact that whatever youre dealing with is one of those things that you cannot change. But, it does encourage action when the capability is present. So, if youre facing something you can effect, do so. If not, accept it. Whatever you do, dont get mired down in a pity-party over things you cant change.
Second, if you dont you wont. Perhaps that one should be, If you cant, you shouldnt. I think I just said this above, but it bears repeating. If something is not within your ability, either expand your ability, or accept reality.
Remember one thing above all else worry doesnt fix anything. In fact, worry will add an extra burden to any problem. It clouds the mind, wrecks the emotions, and kills the spirit. How does a befuddled, nervous, spiritually dead person accomplish anything worthwhile?
Youve got to get a handle on worry. Some people seem more prone to worry than others, but its possible for anyone to reduce the extremes. Legitimate concern can serve as a powerful motivator. The fact that we care deeply about some issue is a positive. Worry, however, paralyzes us, and leaves us impotent.
Next time youre tempted to worry, get a grip. Try to figure out if you can do something or not. If so, do. If not, dont. Either way, worry isnt the answer.
Author: Bill Denton
Publication Date: October 5, 2001
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