What, Me Worry?

Remember that terrifying, no-win situation that kept you up worrying most of the night? The one that kept you tossing and turning until dawn? The one that dragged you out of bed to watch infomercials into the wee hours of the morning? The one you thought would destroy you today? The one you thought would end in tragedy? Abandonment? Bankruptcy? Divorce? Pain and suffering? How’d that work out for you? Did it happen? Did it happen the way you thought it would?

I’ve heard or read that 80 percent of the things we worry about don’t ever happen. Frankly, I don’t know how  researchers could arrive at such a statistic or how they’d measure it. But if I take their word for it, that would mean four out of every five things I worry about would never happen.

Mad Magazine’s cover boy, Alfred E. Neuman, made the phrase “What, me worry?” a household phrase in the 50’s and 60’s.  The  American humor magazine first published in the 1950’s offers satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures. Newman has appeared in a slew of guises, including Santa Claus, Darth Vader, George Washington, King Kong, Baby New Year, Lawrence of Arabia, Batman, Robin, Spider-Man, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Rosemary’s Baby, and George S. Patton, to name a few.¹

And true to form, Alfred E. never worries about anything. He always wears that stupid grin on his face no matter what character he was depicting.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we never worried? I believe, however, we all worry at times. I thought about the times I have worried. God has shown me some things about worry from my experience:

  1. For me, worry is self-centered — Let’s say you have a 17-year-old daughter who already has one child out-of-wedlock and is pregnant with another from her current boyfriend. She’s shacking up with the guy and they live in a one-bedroom apartment in a shady, dangerous part of town. He has no job, no money, no prospects, and for a hobby he sells crack cocaine. I imagine that situation would have any parent biting their nails, pulling their hair, and weeping all day and night. I haven’t been in that situation, but I have been in situations I thought were hopeless. So I worried about them.But here’s the thing. When I worried, God has shown me I was worried about how the situation would affect me. Hurt me. Impact me. Yes, I believed my situation was untenable. I stayed awake at night trying to figure out how I could fix the problem. How I could influence the parties involved to diminish or eliminate negative consequences for me. I was being selfish and self-centered.
  2. In my experience, worry doesn’t impact the outcome — No matter how much I worry, I’ve never spent a sleepless night anguishing over something that did me any good or change the outcome of the situation. What God showed me in a recovery group about a seemingly untenable situation is this: I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. And I can’t cure it.
  3. Worry causes me emotional and physical problems and higher stress levels. — I’ll bet everybody on the planet knows that worry causes stress. For me worry spikes my blood pressure. When I spend the night worrying instead of sleeping the impact on my thinking, my activity, and my attitude all tank for a day or two.  I never make up the sleep I lose worrying. I also get irritable (ask Marie).
    Sometimes the next day I even worry about worrying.

Here’s what Jesus said about worry:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. 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 than food, and the body more 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers 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. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:24-36 (NIV)

What Jesus said to me in these verses is this: we’re either going to trust in our materialistic world, or we’re going to trust God and seek His kingdom first. We’re going to worry about our lives and our clothes and our food, or we’re going to rest in the compassionate arms of Jesus and trust God to provide all our needs.

Can we rest in Jesus and trust God all the time? No. But we can believe that when we trust God, He will provide. He will bless us. He will cover us with His grace. He will guide us into wise choices that are good for us and glorify Him. He will give us rest and dissolve our worry.

Thank you for stopping by.  Did you enjoy reading this post? If so, why not subscribe to my blog? That way you’ll get an email notification each time I publish a new post. Simply go to the home page. At the top right side of the page, click Subscribe and enter your email address.

And remember, God wants us all to trust Him with our live. Let’s all think like Alfred E.

¹ Wikipedia/Mad Magazine 

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About Steven Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at https://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/. My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.

16 thoughts on “What, Me Worry?

  1. Pingback: You Can’t Control the Future! «

  2. Showers of blessings wished on you today, dear Brother Steven, for ending your commentary on worry like this:”He will guide us into wise choices that are good for us and glorify Him. He will give us rest and dissolve our worry.” This is exactly what I learned about during my dawntime prayer and meditation exercises today. Without the worry there draining off my spiritual energies, I can devote so much more for the Kingdom (which includes me!) today. Praise God for rest and dissolution of worries!

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  3. I once read a sgin that said, “Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday.” We tend to allow our imaginations to run wild, focusing upon the worst case scenarios instead of the God who has everything under control. Thanks for sharing. Great post!

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  4. Super post. I once read a sign that said, “Today is the tomorrow I worried about yesterday.” We let our imaginations run wild and tend to focus on the worst possible scenario, forgetting God’s got everything under control! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Worry is an extension of fear! There are always going to be things in life to worry about. However, because we have the Creator of the universe and everything in it on our side, we can stand strong. “For if God is for us, who then can be against us?” Romans 8:31
    This is a wonderful topic, Steven! It is so important to seek refuge in the Lord, especially in these uncertain times.

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  6. Love the way you used Mad Magazine as an illustration! I wrote about worry in Feb. of last year. I have several family members who’s life is not complete if they are not worried about something. Such a shame because they miss out on some joys due to focusing on things that may never be.
    Check out my “Why Worry?” http://aprilhawk.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/why-worry/
    Blessings to you today. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  7. As a reformed control freak, I was also all-consumed worrier. Finally realized I was just fooling myself and turned it ll over to God. It’s not that I don’t worry (tho I don’t), I find I don’t have important things to worry about!

    Shalom, Art

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    • Thank you, Art. What a great testimony. I don’t worry much any more. I’ve learned, like you, to turn the big things over to God. And He handles them every time. I love the hindsight when I can see what God did. God bless you.

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