“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Matthew 6:25-29
At some point in my past, I learned a strange lesson: if I worry, I can prevent something bad from happening.
Worry keeps me focused on what could happen so that I am prepared, so that I’ve thought through and scripted every eventuality.
But life just doesn’t work that way. Ninety-nine percent of the time, all the contingency plans are unnecessary, and the 1% of the time a prediction comes true, the moment itself provides many more surprising and often grace-full resources I could never have anticipated.
A friend of mine once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” Worrying doesn’t make my life any safer or happier, yet I have kept at it, convinced it will.
And I am convinced, more and more, that worry and joy don’t play well together.
Joy lives in the moment, in the sudden smile, the laugh, a loving touch, the sung harmony, the quiet evening, the sparkly snow. Relationships thrive in the present, watered and nurtured by the unfettered and unexpected joy of simply being together.
One cannot plan or force joy, only be attentive when it happens. When I am lost in future plans, it’s hard to see what’s right in front of me.
I’ve been told a few times that life begins at 40. I’m coming to understand this better. As I get older, I’m less willing to waste precious time on behaviors or patterns which don’t make sense. As I leave my thirties, I’d like to leave worry behind.