Friday, July 21, 2017

Pondering Worry

Everyone worries about something.  Every day we worry about something. No one can stop themselves from worrying.  A song written by Bobby McFerrin some years ago comes to mind:
"Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now"

The song implies that "worry" is a bad thing and "happiness" is a good thing.  Is that really so?  Worry is defined as "to give way to anxiety or unease; to allow one's mind to dwell on a difficulty or troubles; a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems."  Worry means to be concerned, to fret, to overthink, or to agonize over a difficulty, an issue, or some person. "Don't worry, be happy."  But what is this alternative called happiness?  Happiness is defined as "a state of well-being and contentment;" a state of satisfaction, being cheerful and contented.

A little bit of worry doesn't do us harm, thank goodness, since we all worry some.  In fact "to be concerned" about some issue or some person is a very positive thing.  I "worry" some over those who always seem to be bubbling-over with well-being (i.e. happy) unconcerned about anythng or anyone, just simply wrapped up in their own contentment.  Worry (to be concerned, to think, or to be anxious about some situation, person, or issue) is and should be an important element in every life.  While "worrying" in and of itself doesn't prevent things from happening, or resolve issues, it can and often does push us to demonstrate our concern, to consider the needs of others, and to attempt to resolve the difficulties and troubles we worry about.

Everyone knows that excessive worry is harmful.  If you become obsessed with worry about a situation or problem (overthinking it and agonizing over it without any attempt to overcome or to deal rationally with it) you are in danger.  Worrying about tomorrow, Jesus tells us, is a rather foolish thing, because we can't do anything about tomorrow, not yet.  The only worry should be with what is "right now," because those "right now" worries can and should move us to action and resolution.  Worry doesn't accomplish anything if we simply stick to the worrying.

Consider the lilies of the field....

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