Don’t Worry About It
Have you ever been super worried about something – like stressed to the max – and told someone about it, and they came back with, “Aw, don’t worry about it!”
Thanks, Karen! What great advice! I’m cured! I’ll never worry about anything ever again!
We all struggle with worry. Even Mr. Bill Jeffery – who quite literally just said he has “never heard of” worry – worries. Worrying is a natural part of human existence, like eating, or sleeping, or waiting in line for an hour to watch Avengers: Endgame on opening night.
However, what is not okay is letting worry overtake your life.
Alright, time to get personal.
I have struggled with anxiety rooted in worry for most of my teenage/adult life. There is not a day that goes by that I do not find myself wallowing in what could go wrong. There are a thousand different outcomes for one possibility, and trust me when I tell you that I’ve thought of them all.
At one point in my life (admittedly recently), the anxiety, the stress, the worry… It had all become too much. I felt as if I could not live my life because of the anxiety that had crippled me. It was miserable, waking up every morning with a knot in my chest so tight that it felt as if I could not breathe.
I was wasting every day worrying, when I could have been enjoying those days. Instead of spending time with the people I care about, I was in bed thinking of what could go wrong if I decided to leave my house. I kept myself from doing things that I wanted to do, things that I knew would be enjoyable, but were “too risky” by my standards.
This experience led me to a realization: anxiety does not have a hold on me.
My mom always told me, “Why worry about things you can’t change?”
That does not mean do not worry about your biology exam (do worry about it, and put down your phone and study, for goodness sake). However, it does mean you can’t worry about the things you have no control over.
Tomorrow is not promised. When I say that, I do not necessarily mean that Jesus could come tomorrow (even though He totally could). I mean that you are not promised tomorrow. That is a basic fact of life: it changes, constantly, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
This, upon first glance, is terrifying. You mean I might not get to have lunch with my friend tomorrow? You mean I may not have to take my biology exam tomorrow?
However, it’s actually sort of freeing.
Think about it.
Tomorrow is not promised.
In Matthew 6:25-27, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
So why waste today worrying?
It took me so long to understand that. If I’m being honest – and I try to be unless my mom asks if I had time to wash the dishes – I still struggle with worry, and anxiety, and stress. It’s a challenge – a big one – but it is not debilitating.
Some quick advice:
- Pray, pray, pray
- Find the people who will support you through this battle and hold onto them; they are more valuable than you know
- Learn what eases your stress and what increases it
- Focus on the things you can control, and do something about them
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night
- Take a warm shower
- Buy a new sweater
- Pet a dog
- Hug a tree
Worry and anxiety and stress have no hold on me, and they have no hold on you, either.
Once you accept your worry for what it is, and refuse to let it overcome your life, you’ll find that you are much, much happier.
It’s going to be hard, letting it go, but it will be so, so worth it.
I hope that this encourages at least some of you to take control over your life, because it’s yours.