Worry Me Not

  • “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 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 ?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies 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.  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, O 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: 25-34

Worry is an insidious thing.  It can creep into life and permeate every fiber of our being if we allow it.  It can literally suck the lifeblood from us and leave us wondering about tomorrow.  It can paralyze if allowed to.

I was thinking about worry the other day when a friend and I were conversing about the things that were foremost on our minds.  I use the  word “worry” carefully these days.  I took it kind of personally when another nameless person  and I had an exchange about something of concern and I stated that it worried me.  She informed me that she did not worry because there was nothing she could change by worrying.  That remark, if I am honest, kind of gutted me because I began to feel that perhaps I was not as “good” a person as her because I admit to having the occasional worry now and then.  Then I decided to change my verbage to use the word “concern” instead of worry and even though concern does not really denote the level of my feelings at times about issues at hand it made me feel a bit better about myself.  Maybe I was just wanting to look better in her eyes.

There is certainly a great deal to be “concerned” about these days and as the events of the Boston Marathon tragedy unfold more completely I am moved to tears by the images and the words of those affected either by being participants, supporters, bystanders, race workers or rescue personnel.  There have been so many words written already, as with any event as horrific as this one, that are so eloquent and so much better than mine.  Having a friend who ran the marathon last year, following a wonderful blogger Jake from Poems and Ponderings who lives in Boston and just being aware of the “running community” makes me so aware of how an event like this can change a life.  It can change a person from every day living to living in fear and yes—worry—-about what may happen tomorrow.

I choose to not live that way.  I choose, and it is difficult some days, to live a life based on the premise that there are far more good people in the world.  There are far more of us out there in the world who are promoting living life to the fullest and loving each other than there are those who live to tear others down in means that are so horrific the mind can not wrap itself around them.  I choose to believe in mankind and in the inherent goodness of the human race.  I choose to see the helpers who come out of the woodwork at times like these.  I choose to focus on tomorrow with a positive outlook.  I choose to be aware of all that is bad and evil in the world but I CHOOSE to be positive and try to make a difference in my corner of the world.

I would love to hear your thoughts about worry.  I would love to hear how you view the world.  Let’s talk.  I’ve got time to listen.


  1. I am the queen of worry, so much so that I have to be medicated for it. Seriously. I can worry myself into physical illness. In my case, it’s the way I’m wired. I’ve literally been this way since childhood. What I think worrying comes down to is one simple thing: Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development. The very first thing we learn as human beings, literally minutes old, is whether or not to trust our surroundings. We do so by having attentive parents who answer our cries when we’re babies. If they don’t, the seed is planted. We carry that preconception of the world with us throughout life. It can be changed, but much of that learning becomes ingrained in our personality. And now that I’ve bored you to death with a GIANT dose of Nerd this morning, I’ll fade back into oblivion. (Excellent post, BTW.)

    • Oh it did not bore me at all, Miranda!! I had forgotten my psych info but I remember reading Erickson’s stages of psychosocial development now and it makes sense, doesn’t it? I am very glad that there are medications that help people like you —that is a good thing!!! And to realize that it is part of who you are and that you can do something to help you through it. Thanks for the comment today, Miranda!!! I always appreciate when you weigh in on my posts because I really value your opinions.

  2. Sonia Potts says:

    I have been the total opposite of Miranda. I have never been a worrier. Except on occasions when things looked dire but in the end I saw there was no need to worry at all. Some people have called me uncaring or a procrastinator. When others are sick or in the hospital (even family members), I don’t worry or think the worst. Besides it not helping anything, I believe bad thoughts just snowball more bad thoughts and they are contagious for everyone around. If you are in a room with someone who is really worried about something, you are brought down to that worriers level, most are anyway. I just feel being positive is going to keep other peoples’ spirits up, not just your own. Even in times of grief like the recent events I feel we all dwell on the bad so much, it takes so long to recover. I do not like watching the news, it just spreads the gloom as well and makes people angry.
    I was listening to a radio program about an anti bully law where they want to start prosecuting so called bullies. Bullying is an act of continuous harassment, but these days anything said is considered bullying. So some innocent children who just don’t disagree are going to be put into the criminal system prematurely and it again will snowball into a big mess. I feel “most” of the children who commit crimes they say are caused by being bullied are children who have needed help or medication their whole lives and are not being recognized by their busy parents and others who interact with them. I feel those children who feel like outcast or are a target for bullies should be taught how to deal with their feelings for one, and how to deal with people. Social skills are so important and worrying about self image etc… is a big big deal in this. And most of the real bullying type have the same self image problems, they just deal with them in the opposite way. I had a bully when I was in elementary school, she would step on the back of my shoes, steal my barbie doll clothes. Another incident a friend and I were walking to girl scouts and we were assaulted by other girls a few times, I was the new overweight girl in high school but I wasn’t going to stand in a corner and worry what others thought, I made the best friends ever (you Beth Ann being one of them) and remember one gym class where the cheerleaders helped me get through backward and forward somersaults (haha) I was molested by my step grandfather when I was 13, I told people, some didn’t believe me but I had a Mom who did believe and just having that one person got me through and I never really worried about any of that. It happened, learn and move on. Things always get better if you believe it so. 🙂 Well that kind of went off in a different direction but I believe worrying pollutes thinking and can lead us into some very bad situations.

    • Sonia, I must have struck a nerve today in you, Sonia, and I really loved what you wrote!!! Thank you for taking the time to write it down! I understand what you are saying–totally. I love your attitude. You were always fun and positive and a wonderful person to be around and I Know that has not changed after all these years. It comes through in what you wrote. I also understand what you are saying about the bullying thing. If you remember I was bullied in a way in high school also when I was harassed and written about on the bathroom walls which in that day was pretty darn horrible. 🙂 I survived and even got a typed apology note that I still have to this day….how’s that for a part of my history???
      Worry can take over a person’s life and as I have gotten older I have gotten much better at it—–I do realize that there is much I can not do anything about. As a Christian I believe that there is a much bigger plan for me and for others and so I try hard to remember that fact. I think the thing that got me recently was the way the other person kind of cut me off and made me feel that I was less than a whole person because I had some worries. Obviously I need to work through that!!!
      Thanks again for the great comment. I always value what you have to say—I think it is one of my biggest blessings to know that folks that I went to high school actually read my blog . Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  3. I tend to worry, always have,always will. I admit it and am aware of that tendency and thus try to handle it via prayer and being honest with myself about it. On the positive side of this part of my personality, I tend to show a lot of empathy and care for others. Thus, even positive can develop from something perceived as primarily negative.

    • EXACTLY! Out of concern comes empathy and genuine caring. You said it all, Audrey!!! I also try to handle it with prayer and just really addressing what the case actually is. This post must have been a good one for today—-lots of conversation about it which is a great thing!!!! Thanks, Audrey, for weighing in!

  4. Worry. My mother always says, “worry works, what she worries about never happens.” Up until 4 years ago, when my husband dropped dead of a heart attack in the shower one sunny and beautiful morning (no illness, excellent health–we thought) I led a pretty worry free life; from that moment on worry took on a much different role in my life. I knew worrying didn’t stop bad things from happening, and yet worry hung over me like a wet blanket and dodged my every step. A friend gave me two pieces of advice, I’ve hung on too. 1) stay away from the people that ignite your worry with their drama. 2) Doing something is the antidote to worry. One small action step (even something that doesn’t address my direct concerns like picking up dry cleaning), can help. It works, like magic. I also find that quickly listing things that prove we are okay helps: grateful we have spoons, we have towels to dry the dogs, I just heard the pump turn on and so on. Oddly, I seldom worry about my teen, although plenty of people have told me he is in the high risk category for drugs and alcohol. I know he will be just fine. I know it to the depth of my being, and that kind of knowing shuts the value on worrying speedy quick. Now if only I could be as sure I could find a lawn man for the summer ♥

    • Thought provoking post. Thank you!

    • LOVE your attitude!!! You have had a lot to work through and you have come out the other side of what could have been a totally life devastating experience and made a really positive thing. I think there is a lot of wisdom in what you wrote….a lot. I find that focusing on the positives is a bonus. In fact I just wrote a post about how to turn a day around and one of the things was to do something for someone else. It takes the focus off myself and my own little concerns and recenters me!!! That is a good thing! Thanks for your great comments today!!!

  5. Beth Ann, I’m definitely a worry wart but like you I try to look for the positive and live a positive life and teach my children about the good in the world, It’s not always easy and some days are harder than others but I keep trying. I am also reading a book about the female brain and one of the first things mentioned was the fact that women tend to worry more than men and that it’s part of our brain make-up to do that!!!

    • Hey—so there is a reason!!! I do think women worry more than men so now your reading confirms that!!! I think you are approaching it in just the right way! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I used to worry about EVERYTHING! I finally read the advice that when you are worried about what will happen, imagine the worst thing that could happen, then take it further. If “that” happens, then this is what I would do, and then if “this” happens, then this is what I would do. You take it down to the smallest point, and you realize that there’s not as much to worry about. It’s helped me a lot, and I worry a lot less now. It could also be that I’m 66 now, and have found through experience that you can come out the other side of almost anything, and still be okay. Battered and bruised, maybe, but, still, okay. It keeps me a lot saner. I’ve also become a lot more serene since I’ve lived past the age at which my mom died. She was 64, and as that age came closer and closer, I got tenser and tenser. Once it passed, I relaxed. Silly, I guess, but my sister said she had felt the same way. Concerned is a much better word, I think.

    xo Linda

    • Great words, Linda! I did not think I would get such great discussion on this today but I am happy that I am!!! I think there is just so much to “fear” in the world and it is easy to get sucked into that –you have to take a step back and look at the reality of the “concern”. I love what you wrote and think it is very true. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  7. never hurry, never worry. that’s my motto.
    one of my most fave passages.

  8. Beth Ann I love your insights in this post. And I agree. Worry is simply ineffective. Concern drives action. Love creates new possibilities. But worry is debilitating. The words we choose really do change things. Even how you feel about yourself. And for the record – the other person isn’t better than you – you are pretty awesome in your own right. Joining you in looking for the positives!!!

  9. I’ve never gotten the impression that you’re a worrier. You are one of the most positive and upbeat people of all my imaginary friends. 😉

  10. It is very interesting that you were talking about worrying on your blog today. Our chaplain was here this afternoon to update our prayer chain. I told him about my nieighbors and how I wanted to help them but did not want to interfear. I told him I said to call if they needed anything as I wanted to help but they had family coming, etc. He said she would call if they needed anything and later in the day, she did. She said they may need a bed or two when all the family gets here. I said I have 2 beds upstairs, I can sleep downstairs. I was so glad I had not worried, I just cared and she knew I would help. My Dad was a wooier but my Mother was just the opposite and I try to be like her. Notice I say try, I am not always just concerned.

  11. Suffering from anxiety disorder, I worry unnecessarily about things. I do my best to curb my worrying so I can live without the crushing feelings worry can bring, but there are days when it’s extremely difficult.

    • There are so many folks who do have serious disorders like anxiety or panic disorder—–it is a wonderful thing that we have medications to help us cope with things like this. I am sure it is difficult many days—–no doubt about that. Thanks for commenting on something that really hits home with you.

  12. I still can’t believe what happened in Boston and now I saw on the news that MIT and Watertown are in the news. That concerns me greatly. I’m not sure about the debate between worry and concern. For me, I can’t help but worry about things in this world, such as violence, environmental issues, poverty, human rights–in today’s world how can I not worry about those things.

  13. Good Morning Beth Ann! I think you may already know I am a worrier. It wears me out. I worry about every little thing. It has gotten much worse the last three years. I really identify with Miranda’s comment and I could have written the first paragraph of your post. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder back in 1995 but I am pretty sure I had it as a kid. But I like funny! I love people with a sense of humor and a quick wit and I always can find the funny in things. I think it is what saves me. I always look for people that have that sense of funny! This post and the comments make some helpful reading Beth Ann!

    • I think you have a great attitude about life—looking for the funny is so important. I think we take life too seriously at times —of course there are times to be serious–but you know what I mean I think. Need to look for the lighter moments.

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