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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Worry

February 6th, 2006

Years ago my friend Glen, a cowboy who’d rather be horseback riding and team roping than doing anything else, summarized the inherent problem of not taking life one day at a time as only he could do.

“When ya’ got one foot in yesterday and the other foot in tomorrow, yer’ pissin’ all over today.”

Cowboy vernacular aside, that’s the truth. Too often we’re paralyzed by a past we can’t change and fret over a future we can’t control. The word is “worry”. And if you’re anything like me, you do it way too much. Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it doesn’t get us anywhere. Worry is counter-productive and won’t add a single minute to our lives. In fact, if medical studies are accurate, worry may well shorten our life.

Worry is associated with stress. And stress is associated with elevated adrenaline levels in our body. In God’s design, adrenaline is for emergencies; for crisis situations that demand a “fight or flight” response. But in our western culture we’ve made “emergencies” out of many routine situations. So much so that many of us live each day as though we are on an adrenaline drip. When we continually spend a dollar’s worth of adrenaline on ten cent problems, our minds and bodies pay a price.

Our heads may know that worry is an exercise in futility. But honestly, when life presses in and puts the squeeze on, a Hallmark card telling us to “take life one day at a time” isn’t all that comforting. Maybe you’re worried about your kids. Maybe it’s a chronic health problem that has worn you to a frazzle. Maybe it’s a bad church experience that has left you wondering how to sort the truth from the trappings. Maybe your career has lost its luster and you’re wondering what to do with your life. Maybe you’re experiencing a loneliness of the soul that cannot be expressed. Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a friend or family member. Whatever worries you, weighs on you.

This past week I found myself worrying a lot. The usual pressures of life were magnified a bit. I found myself at odds with Jesus’ practical advice. “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” (Matthew 6:34) When I thought about my attitude and my worry, there was only one conclusion. I wasn’t trusting that God would take care of me.

So this is what I did. I encourage you to do it, too. Right now. Grab any piece of paper in front of you and for 60 seconds (no longer) write down as many blessings in your life as you can think of. Don’t ponder them and don’t edit your list. Just write as many as you can as fast as you can. Ready? Go.

Now flip the paper over. On this side take 60 seconds (no longer) to write down as many worries as you can. Whatever’s weighing heavy on your head and heart, jot it down. Ready? Go.

When you’re finished, look at your list of blessings and ask yourself this question: “Is there anything on this list that I have ever worried about in some form or fashion?”

I bet there is. My list of blessings was loaded with items that I’d worried about at one time or another. Not the least of which are my children, Annie and Emma are my biggest blessings. For years I worried that I’d never have opportunity to be a Dad. I was finally coming to grips with the fact that God in His sovereignty may have decided that parenthood wasn’t part of the plan for me. Then out of the blue God said, “Ok. You think I’ve been really slow in responding. It’s go time now. You better buckle up because we’re going to go really fast.” And we did. From zero kids to two kids in 23 days.

The point is, if the items on our blessing list used to be on our worry list, then it’s tangible proof that God takes care of us. On His timetable and in His way, yet tangible proof that God can be trusted with the details of our lives.

There is a piece of Jewish wisdom that goes like this, “Do not worry over tomorrow’s evils, for you know not what today will bring forth. Perhaps tomorrow you will not be alive and you will have worried for a world that will not be yours.” Whatever stress you’re staring at this week, start by getting both feet in today. There’s enough trouble to kick around without borrowing trouble from a tomorrow that may not come.

Oh, and remember…God will take care of you. Those items on your blessing list that used to be on your worry list are proof of that.