Sunday Post 78: Constructive Concern or Fruitless Fretting?

Posted by Danny

Sometimes I worry. Sometimes I worry a lot. Last week was one of those “a lot” weeks.

When I get in one of those ruts, I find my mind consumed.

On Friday night, I opened my calendar to look at the weekend events and realized I had to teach sunday school in less than 48 hours. It really wasn’t a big deal, I don’t teach often plus attendance in the summer is scant.

Late that night when the girls had all gone to bed, I opened up the book we were studying to chapter 7 – the one I was to teach. The topic? Maximizing your worry. How apropos; although I felt pretty sorry for my classmates. It was going to be like taking tight rope walking lessons from the clown.

The passage we were studying was from Matthew – the one that says not to be anxious or to worry. It says if God takes care of the lilies in the field, certainly He’ll take care of you. Can’t relate; I’m not a flower.

There were three things, however, that I did take from the lesson.

The first was helping to distinguish between constructive concern and frivolous fretting. I think I have the constructive concern mastered – I do that well. It’s the frivolous fretting that can eat me alive. The dread of a quiet house for a month due to kids going to camp can lead my brain ten years down the road to kids out of the house and me stuck with P90X and about 3,200 more square feet than I need in a house.

Taking it one step further, the author shared a quote that worry could not ease the misery of future pain but that it could rob you of today’s joy.

Isn’t that the truth.

Finally he shared a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”

That seems to be the most popular time for me to stoop that low; when I simply have nowhere else to go.

One strong woman in our class keeps encouraging us to focus on God and the good that He brings. I think that’s simple for her – a little less so for me.

But I took what the lessons said to heart – when my mind starts to roam, nearing the place of fruitlessness, I ask for strength and a little peace. And I strive to focus on something more useful.

It’s only been a week, but thus far I think I’m doing better – more time enjoying today; less on what may not even happen tomorrow.

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  1. Annette Heath

     /  July 1, 2012

    “God has forbidden you to worry and commanded you to pray.” St. John Viannny. These words were so important to me during a long illness and hospitalization of my youngest child when she was 11 yrs old. Thanks for the A. Lincoln quote. It’s one I will keep close. You are surely on the right track Danny……a fine path lies ahead. Annette

    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 2, 2012

      It is taking longer to get there than I’d hoped!

  2. charlotte

     /  July 1, 2012

    Heard someone famous say this the other day, “You can worry or you can pray, but you can’t do both”.

  3. Kelly

     /  July 7, 2012

    Thank you for the reminder to absorb the joys of today. I too worry about an empty home with kids at camp and how I’ll ever be the mom they need. But the Lord reminds me that He has all the details under control…and my heart in His hand. Yours too.


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