“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Mark Twain
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)
This quote from Mark Twain bears a lot of truth in its humor. Twain is saying, in his own inimitable style, that most of the worries we have never happen. Sometimes we worry because we think that we have some sort of unspoken need to pay attention to some situation, or possibility, and therefore, we can have some measure of control over it. Almost like saying, “Well, I did my job of worrying about that so I’m not going to be blindsided by it!”
We worry because it gives us the illusion of control. As I have discussed earlier, control is the antidote to anxiety. Where there is high anxiety, there is a perceived need for high control. We tell ourselves that if we control every possible scenario, we can somehow fend off some bad outcome.
Sometimes, over-control is good. We “overstudy” for the test to minimize test anxiety. Not a bad strategy, but it’s not fool-proof. Nonetheless, it serves a good purpose, and it likely is a helpful idea.
On the other hand, some over-control causes more problems than it solves, such as hoarding behavior or agoraphobic responses where people simply try to never leave their home. We also know that some behaviors, like superstitions, do not help outcomes, but we do them anyway for our own comfort- you know, just in case.
Like, maybe that thing of never washing the socks you wore when you pitched that shutout last year. Or never stepping on the foul lines in baseball. Or dribbling exactly six times before you shoot a free throw. Let’s not blame the athletes for their superstitions. We all do stuff that really doesn’t help anything other than make us feel like we exercised some control where we felt we had none.
So, keep in mind Twain’s quote. Much of the stuff we worry about just isn’t going to happen. Of course, if it makes you feel better, it’s OK to keep that lucky coin in your pocket!
Prayer: Lord, we know that you have given us access to you in prayer at all times. Thank you for that provision, Amen