I had trouble thinking of a Sunday spiritual post; mostly because my mind is cluttered with other things this week. I made some distracted prayers for guidance, in between my prayers for others that were suffering this week, but nothing surfaced for the first few days.
Each day, I read and comment on several blogs. On Wednesday, I read Hilary Clark’s post about worrying. I am a worrier, so I could relate. On Thursday, a funny post by Amanda Hoving about stress dreams prompted me to share my waitressing nightmare. And then on Friday, I read a few pages in my Life’s Simple Guide to God book. The topics? “Let Go of Worry” and “Get Serious About Laughter.”
I could be mistaken, but I felt the guidance I prayed for led me here. I’ve found that worry and stress are like Siamese twins, in that when one finds me, the other is just an arm’s length away. Laughter acts as a shield, preventing stress and worry from overwhelming me. Unfortunately for me, three’s a crowd, and laughter doesn’t generally hang around with stress and worry, without special invitation.
My worry has no limits – it ranges from the tiniest details to the state of the world. In a given week, I can worry about forgetting to do something I have committed to do; whether something I said could have been interpreted as hurtful; I worry about the deterioration of social skills, and society in general; corruption in our government; the state of the Middle East and whether hatred will destroy us all. See? You name it; I worry about it at some point.
Stress is a bit sneakier. It’s like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, gaining in size and speed throughout the day. The kids are slow getting ready, so I leave fifteen minutes late; already late, there’s an accident on the freeway; it’s time for a meeting and my notes have gone missing; a project document encounters an error and closes without saving my changes; well, you get the idea.
The guide retold the story of how Jesus fed more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish (and had leftovers.) I’ve always liked this story because it illustrates how things can work out even when they seem impossible. Instead of worrying, the disciples let Jesus handle the situation. Life’s Simple Guide to God offered the reminder that our needs are never more than God can handle. We just have to recognize our needs versus wants, and trust, even in uncertain times, that He will not fail to provide.
Even knowing this, sometimes stress and worry affect me like the weariness before a cold and not even copious amounts of dark chocolate improve my spirits. I know I should accept that worrying is not productive. Easier said than done. I read some verses in the Bible about worry that I enjoyed:
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 much more important than food, and the body more important 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? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
It’s true that worrying doesn’t change what will be. Since I can’t stop it, I fight it with laughter.
The guide suggests that God wants us to laugh and that joyous outbursts are pleasing to Him. I loved this quote from the book: “Don’t take life so seriously. Be willing to laugh at yourself, laugh with others, and laugh with God.” It’s hard to stay worried or stressed when laughter surrounds us.
Now’s a good time to laugh with me …or at me, if you must!
How do you ease your own worry or stress?