Worrying: Trying to Control the Uncontrollable
21 April 2018
What are you worrying right now? Can I stop worrying?
My mortal fear when I was in my 20s was the worry of being single forever. Maybe you can relate to it if you are in the same shoe. I have a love-hate feeling inside me when I see people getting engaged. I was very happy for them, but on the back of my mind I was thinking “how about me”? Anxieties only increase when more of your friends got married, while at the same time the number of singles was shrinking. You are quietly becoming the minority, and you couldn’t help but wonder: is there something lacking inside me that made me still single?
The twenty-first-century world has created so much social pressure on dating that makes not-dating or a single life almost equivalent to a cursed life. The world expects you to find your partner so badly that numerous dating websites, apps and social platforms are created as if singleness is a social malaise. Given the many resources available, if you are still single, there must be something wrong with you.
Is there anything though we can do about worrying? Yes, there is. In order to know what we are dealing with here, we must first identify what worrying really is: it is a result of us trying to control the uncontrollable.
We have fears in relationships because we have no way of ensuring love is reciprocal. We do not have a guarantee the other person loves us as much as we love him/her. We fear whether we really deserve the other person. No matter how much he/she may have reassured us, we still fear. We worry if we will ever meet the right person to get married. We tried to speed up the process of finding the right person, but simply it’s not in our hands.
Worrying, with all its different manifestations, is essentially a sign of a lack of faith. You lack faith in yourself, the people around you, and most importantly, the God you have been worshipping. You worry that you wouldn’t be successful because you doubt your personal ability; you worry that you will be single for a long time because you question your attractiveness; you worry that God will not provide for you because you do not think He loves you enough to do so. Worrying speaks to the heart of fear: we do not trust God's love.
Worrying is a human weakness, and may seem to be a petty one when compared to 'bigger' sins such as murder and adultery. But God does not dismiss this seemingly small nuisance in our life. He cares about us down to the smallest detail and wants to get us rid of it. It is not surprising that Jesus talked about worrying, murder and adultery in the same sermon (called Sermon on the Mount), and he gave an almost satirical response to those who worry: “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?” (Matthew 6:25). He rhetorically asked if “worrying can add a single hour to your [his] life”?
Here, Jesus argues that worrying is completely unnecessary because we are missing the important fact that God is the provider. Jesus pointed to the wild flowers and said they “do not labour and spin” but “even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these”. Birds too. They “do not sow or reap or store away in barns”, but God himself feeds them.
At this point you may begin to think how the sophisticated life of the 21st century could possibly be compared with flowers and birds. They do need not to take exams, go to job interviews or to think about dating prospects. Our lives are so much more complicated. But Jesus asked (again rhetorically) that “are you not much more valuable than they?” If we believe that humans are the cream of His Creation, then the logic will flow naturally: as God pays so much attention to the wild flowers along the road, He surely will pay a million times more on you and your needs.
Trusting God is not a natural thing for us because there is no tangible basis for this trust. We cannot see God. His promises are vague at times. Sometimes He doesn’t tell us when the things we wish for will come true. Worst, He does not lay out a schedule of when things will be done. Trusting God is often reduced to the simplest act of faith, or in many cases, almost a naïve faith.
This is when our knowledge of God, of the Bible or of this religion cannot cover us. We may have read many times that “His love never fails” and sung songs about it, but knowing and acting are entirely different matters. Trusting God and not worrying require us to step out of our comfort zone where there is no safety net, and to muster courage and walk on the tightrope in the air.
As a Christian, I believe that my God is a God who provides. He will provide everything that I need and sometimes even more than I wish for, although He may not do so the way I want. He provides me with a promise of peace and joy in my heart. Even though I sometimes face the prospects of uncertainties and insecurity, I have Jesus in my heart and I put my trust in Him that He would not let me down.
If you are single and feeling anxious, I want to tell you that I know how you feel. Instead of holding on, try letting it go and put all your trust in God. Believe that He will provide the right person at the right time and in the right place. Believe that you will know it’s him/her when he/she appears in your life.
If you are in a relationship and feeling insecure, unleash all your worries to the Lord. He will guide you and lead you on a safe path. He will provide you with the necessary courage to overcome them or to make important decisions.
Worrying robs us of God's joy and peace, and why let anyone or anything to do that to our lives? Let go of worry, and live your life to the fullest as you yield the driver's seat to Jesus. It is not easy, but worth every moment.