That’s not simply dipping your toe in the niggle bath. It’s sold-out, full-tilt speculative commitment to all the What If’s? of Life – from skincare to death. And I suspect it’s a conservative estimate.
Here’s the top-line fears;
keeping the house clean
drinking too much
eating too much
spending too much
being able to afford to settle down and have kids
not being able to have children
partner being unfaithful
worries about children’s happiness and performance
Funnily enough, fear of wrinkles and concerns about keeping the house clean score higher on the worry scale than struggling with the overdraft or keeping our kids happy. It would seem that rationality is no match for despondency, despite the power of positive thinking. If I’m not worrying about big fears – sickness or paying the bills, I’ll find something else – from my unsightly toes to whether or not I want sprinkles on my latte. This might just be transference, but the end result is very similar. Perhaps such fretting is a way of exercising control. I can’t stop myself aging for example, but I can invest in looking younger. I can’t cure my friend’s cancer, but if I eat the right amount of goji berries, maybe it won’t get me.
To me, the solution to my problems seems very obvious. I’ve made some really helpful suggestions to the Lord on what would fix things, but so far He doesn’t seem to have taken them on board.
In fact, he seems to have a completely different take on the whole issue;
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 “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.
25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 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? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Dear Jesus, I reply, I appreciate your contribution. But I reckon I’ve got this one sussed – think I know my own heart pretty well thanks. No need for you to get involved – just a couple of bits of admin. Fact is, I won’t worry if you’d give me …(insert as appropriate)
That should do it.
But look again at the list of fears. None of them are addressed by changes in our circumstances.
Some of us worry about not having kids. Those who do have them then worry about their happiness, their performance and whether or not we have enough money to give them what they want. We worry about not finding a partner. But when we get one, we worry about being dumped and whether or not they’re faithful. We worry about not having enough money. But then we worry about how to spend and keep it. We worry too about overeating, overdrinking and overspending.
So what do we do with these fears? Thankfully, any number of women’s magazines have already found the perfect solution – no divine interference required.
Why not ‘think positive’ ?
Or this – ‘worry less’.
Still not working? – well, count your blessings. Eat a banana.
and if all else fails, then pull out the Big Guns – nothing nukes death in the neck than a nice scented candle.
Sometimes I worry about these magazines…
*based on a sample size of 3000 people, with average adult lifetime estimated at 60.5 years. (cited in Daily Express, Tues 21 Dec 2010)
** unless it’s Death. More common than you might think.