Who would agree that it seems like we live in a more agitated world today than we did 20 years ago? It seems and feels to me as we all interact every day, people tend to be more easily agitated, more easily upset, and for sure more focused on the negative vs focusing on the positive. All of these things can result in some form of worry or anxiety for some.
Technology and media platforms of today places life, wants, desires, relationships, negatives, and the Jones’s in front of our eyes at all times via our handheld supercomputers and the screens many are in front of for hours a day. We can’t get away from life, other people’s lives, or super-intelligent marketing efforts short-circuiting our brains often tell us we aren’t good enough, we need more, our kids need more, we need to do more to keep up with everyone else. And it is in these daily every minute to hour processes our minds become overwhelmed with many needs of “more” on all fronts. Often leading to emotions of worrying we can’t do all that, or we can’t supply or achieve that, that being any part of the “more”.
Or simply even as a human, beyond the technologies and media platforms of today, somewhere around the age of 10 or 11, I was a fairly constant worrier. For example, one day while at the lake, my parents went for a boat ride just themselves, and left my sister and me in the motorhome. I’m sure I worried from the time I couldn’t see them any longer, but as time passed, I began to worry, “Are they ok?”. My mind continued to “work the worry”, and began to wonder, “Has the boat capsized and did they drown?” As with all of us, my mind “worked the worry” and spun out of control thinking the absolute worst had occurred. My mind was spinning a meteor shower of “what if’s” into a full-blown mental storm.
As you can imagine, they showed up, fully alive, unharmed, in the boat after a leisure boat ride and some quality “alone time”, likely after some friendly brotherly-sister friendly banter! (Otherwise known as fighting or not being able to keep our hands off each other!) But we have these worrying emotions because it is only natural, and from seeing, experiencing, and hearing of all the disastrous things that have happened to others, and we begin to think, “that could be us!”.
An interesting survey was done with nursing home residents, and the most common answer to the meaning of life from 1,200 nursing home residents was, “I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying.” This tells us several things. #1 it tells us we are normal, they worried just like we do. And they still have worries. #2 it tells us to stop worrying because people that are aging with beauty and reflecting on their journey while facing and having end of life fears are telling us they wouldn’t have spent so much time worrying. Lastly, it tells us, they like us spend time worrying, and there is no value in worrying.
The other thing these 1,200 nursing home residents are telling us indirectly is, as the great Max Lucado teaches us, “worry has more questions than answer, more work than energy, and thinks often about giving up.” He also tells us we can dedicate a decade of anxious thought to the brevity of life, and not extend it by one minute. Worry accomplishes nothing. Worry is totally normal, but we can’t let it control our minds. And if you need help with your worrying, here are 2 great books that can help you. The first is Anxious For Nothing by Max Lucado, and the second is The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.
In the meantime, the next time you may be worried about anything, remind yourself of the great verse, Phillippians 4:6, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. There are only two powers that can help you in those situations, you and the good man above!