Are you a worrier? I define the word. Right there in the dictionary you can read all about what makes me tick.
Worry is such a central part of my life, that when I don’t have a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, I’m convinced I’ve overlooked something. If I’m not consumed with care I immediately evaluate all of my responsibilities to determine what I’ve neglected to obsess over.
After much deliberation, I’ve solved this perplexing mystery that has bred countless ulcers, hypertension, and heart attacks.
It’s so simple that I feel naive for taking so long to uncover it. It really wasn’t buried that deep in the sand either. The solution was in a shallow grave readily unearthed.
Are you ready? Here it is: STOP CARING. That’s it. Please, pay the receptionist $150 on your way out.
Oh, and don’t forget to buy my book when it’s released next week. It will be a number one bestseller and set the record for the shortest self-help book ever published. Just one page with the phrase printed in big bold letters so it will be easily etched into your frontal lobe.
You can keep it on your nightstand and re-read it every night before bed so your slumber will be peaceful and undisturbed.
If I’ve held your attention to this point, you are probably thinking, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” While I won’t debate this with you, I will contend that many people avoid stress and worry by simply not caring.
It’s easy to refuse to evangelize your neighbor if you don’t care about their soul. Crossing the street when a panhandler approaches is guilt-free when you have no compassion for the pangs of hunger wracking his body. There is nothing to stop you from averting your eyes from the disastrous results of a tornado when you aren’t concerned about its victims.
Even though this solution is a reality for many, it’s not reasonable. I don’t accept it and therefore I worry.
I have two sets of worry lists. The first is a compilation of things on which I can have a direct impact. These are responsibilities in my work, church and family life; performing well for my employer, serving my Christian brethren, and raising my children in the Lord.
The other list consists of things I have no control over; how a client reacts to my work, whether people think I serve enough, and my son’s performance in the play. These are all beyond my command.
I struggle with recognizing the difference and focusing my efforts on the things I have dominion over. One list elicits action, the other is a waste of stomach lining.
I need to learn to alter my focus from worry and convert that wasted energy into work. I should labor hard, give my all, and move on.
No, the solution is not to stop caring, the answer is, do all you can and leave the rest to God. If you worry because you know you aren’t doing enough there is really only one reasonable resolution, work harder. Do more, love more, serve more, and trust God more.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing…” He didn’t say care for nothing. Toil over things you can change. Pray over things you can’t. Always keep your heart full of compassion.
How do you handle worry?