“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble, most of which never happened.” ~ Winston Churchill, The Finest Hour …
In our pursuit to avoid mistakes, many of us become the source of our stress, anxiety, and misery. We worry and fret over things that we fear could happen, yet have not. And perhaps this tendency would be laughable if not for the amount of pain, sadness, and heartache that it causes. We can learn a tremendous amount of wisdom–and lessons about life–from those who have already faced similar situations and experiences and have made it through them, and this story is one such reminder: things that have not come to pass may never happen… and there is simply no good in worrying about such things. Imagine how many relationships might have been saved, how many friendships might have grown deeper, how many children might have received more attention, and how many more nights of blessed rest we might have realized if we only had been able to remember that those things that we are worrying about will more than likely turn out ok.
And yet we often expect the worst, which means that most of our thoughts are on what can go wrong. If we are in a financial crisis, we worry about what will happen when our money runs out. If we are having difficulties in our relationship, we worry about what will happen if our significant other moves out, or moves on. And while thinking about such possibilities is definitely natural and ok, worrying about them is not–it is unhealthy for our entire being and negatively affects those around us. Most importantly, worrying will do nothing to make our finances or relationships any better–only careful planning, positive attitudes, and focused action can change our situations. If we are in financial trouble, we might budget better, watch our spending, save up more money when applicable, and possibly find new ways to bring in additional resources. If our relationship is in trouble, perhaps we need to devote more time, energy, and love towards healing, or try to be more compassionate, forgiving, merciful, and just; maybe an attitude adjustment is all that is necessary to change our hearts and demeanor.
It is ok to recognize the things in our lives that are not going right and to take the time to think, plan, and act towards resolving them; it is also ok to think about the potential problems we may face in the future and to seek to avoid such pitfalls in our words and actions. But we should avoid worrying about such things, as worry is useless and only adds more negatives into our lives and the lives of those we love. This road leads to misery, unhappiness, and stress, whereas, if we plan for them and do our best to prevent them, we will find our days are much more productive and enjoyable. And if we ever find ourselves traveling down the road of worry, we can simply remind ourselves that “even if we have to pass through unexpected obstacles, and experience some difficult times, things will turn out alright.”
Set aside your worries and search out positive action and reinforcement for your problems.
Questions to consider:
Why is it so easy to worry that the worst will happen in so many situations in our lives?
How many of the things about which you have worried never have come to pass? Did your worrying do any good?
Why do so many older people tell us that the time they’ve spent worrying in their lives has been time wasted?
For further thought:
“Worry not about the possible troubles of the future; for if they come, you are but anticipating and adding to their weight; and if they do not come, your worry is useless; and in either case it is weak and in vain, and a distrust of God’s providence.” ~ Hugh Blair, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles-lettres