courtesy Mad Magazine

This morning I am worrying a technical proposal out the door.  In this case, it doesn’t mean I’m worried that it won’t get done, it means … per dictionary.comI am moving it with effort.  I do worry that I will miss some crucial requirement or misstatement that will disqualify us.  That happened once with a multi-million dollar proposal I managed for a large corporation years ago.  It’s not an experience easily forgotten.  That’s where moving it with effort comes in … the worrying itself will not remove proposal faux pas or get us in under the page limit.  And neither will prayer.

In my 12-Step meetings, I frequently hear the slogan: If you pray, why worry?  If you worry, why pray?  To tell you the truth, I’ve always found that to be a bit of a head-scratcher.   I worry, even though I pray, because God’s will isn’t always easy, because I don’t always feel up to what comes my way, even though people assure me God doesn’t give me anything I can’t handle.  I worry because in the past, my prayers have not been answered, at least in the affirmative, leaving me to grieve the loss of a loved one or watch someone suffer.  Just because I’ve reached a point in my life where I can accept life without kicking God off the bus doesn’t mean I don’t worry about the pain, no matter what Carly Simon says.

The apostle, Matthew, is fond of telling us about the lilies of the field, how they don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.   I think everyone is better off if I make an occasional trip to Kohl’s for jeans and a T-shirt instead of subjecting the world to Older Eyes au naturalAnxietyculture.com goes so far as to say, Worrying is never useful. It handicaps and diminishes us. The more it triggers the fight or flee response with imagined threats, the more it prevents clear thinking (which is probably our greatest survival asset).  Don’t they say, My best thinking got me here in AA meetings?

There’s some insight to be had in an anecdote on anxietyculture.comYou’re finally on holiday/vacation. Sun, sand, palm trees, etc.  You say to yourself:  “I think I deserve this after all those months in the office!” Suddenly, an apparently random worry pops into your head: did you turn off the water before you left for the airport? What about the dripping tap?  The truth is, given the way the brain works, it may in fact be only apparently random … it makes sense to call someone at home to be sure.  Now, if you ruin your vacation over it … or move on to whether you left the gas on or locked the door or watered the plants or payed the electric bill … then you’re neurotic.  Now, if you pray, why be neurotic is a slogan I can support.

In the end, I think it’s semantics.  As a Trust God and tie your camel to a tree kind of guy, thinking ahead and planning is part of my modus.  Sometimes those think-aheads lead to negative possibilities, as in, I’m getting on in years.  I’m worried about long term care should we become disabled.  Worried.  So, we do some research and buy Long Term Care Insurance.  I’m sorry folks … I’ve seen too many older folks in substandard facilities on public funding to trust prayer completely on that one.  And when a friend is sick, I’ll worry about how we’ll manage without them if they don’t get better.  But I won’t obsess over it.

If you pray, why obsess.  If you obsess, why pray.  Something like that.

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3 Comments on “Worrying”

  1. I worry, even though I pray, too. And I love that Carly Simon song.

  2. Cheryl P. Says:

    I am a worrier, and a prayer and a preparer. I actually hate when people tell me not to worry and just put everything into God’s hands. I am more about “God helps those that help themselves” which I recognize is no where in the Bible but it makes sense to me. I think I need to do what I can to be a strong person and take care of myself. I think my Long Term Health Care policy eases some burdens that God wouldn’t be directly involved with…just as my medical insurance and car insurance and all the other measures I can take to sustain myself while I am still living out my life on earth.

  3. I think there actually is something in the Bible that tells us “God helps him who helps himself” -probably not in those exact words but…. there, all the same in meaning. I worry about lots of things but when I feel my anxiety levels rising over and beyond a reasonable level for me to handle the stressors, then I know it’s time to calm down, take a closer look at what is really wearing on me and deciding if it is worth worrying about in the general scheme of things. An elderly lady I used to drive to/from doctor appointments, drove me about nuts with her incessant worrying -mostly about dying. She couldn’t understand how I could say I didn’t worry about that seeing as I’d already had one bout with cancer. Well, why worry about dying when there’s nothing anyone can ultimately do about that, is there? It’s what is at the end of the highway -wherever that may be -for each and everyone of us and totally beyond my control -well, as to the exact day and time (unless I decide to take matters into my own hands some day.) Planning things out -sure it’s because of a bit of worry but it’s also common sense too, isn’t it? Preparations, insurance, and the like are about all one can do. The only thing I obsess about is whether we will run out of coffee some day and I won’t have enough cash on hand to buy another container! Now that is what really scares the heck out of me!!!

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