Q: Sometimes I feel like I’m being overcome with worries. What can I do to stop worrying so much?
A: Who doesn’t worry sometimes? We worry about what’s going to happen in the world. We worry about failing in school or in our work. We worry that we won’t be able to make ends meet financially. We worry about losing the ones we love. We worry about our future. We worry about so many things!
Most worries come down to one of two things: fretting about past failures and situations gone wrong, and fearing the future.
How can we keep such fears from affecting us? One good answer can be found in a most unexpected place—modern ocean liners. They are constructed in such a way that in case of fire or serious leakage, watertight, fireproof steel doors can be closed to seal off the damaged compartment from the others and contain the problem, so the ship can stay afloat.
So it should be in the “ship” of our lives. In order to make the most of today and best prepare for the future, we have to learn to seal ourselves off from worries about yesterday with its mistakes and failures, as well as from needless fears about tomorrow. Otherwise our worries may cause us to go under!
Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). Have you ever noticed that it’s the things that never happen that seem to worry us the most? Like the writer and humorist Mark Twain said toward the end of his life, “I’m an old man, and I’ve had many troubles—most of which never happened!”
One businessman drew up what he called a “worry chart,” where he kept a record of his fears. He discovered that 40% of them were about things that probably would never happen, 30% concerned past decisions that he could not change, 12% had to do with other people’s criticism of him, and 10% were unfounded worries about his health. He concluded that there were valid reasons for only 8% of his worries.
As Christians we don’t have to fear or worry about anything, because we know that “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28). The famous evangelist Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) used to say, “You can travel first class or second class to Heaven. Second class is, ‘What time I am afraid, I will trust‘ (Psalm 56:3), and first class is, ‘I will trust, and not be afraid’ (Isaiah 12:2). So why not buy a first class ticket?”
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