Everyone has worries and something to worry about. How will I make the payments? What do they think about me? Will I do well on my test? Will my son get a good job? And for those dating: “Will I find the right person?”
These are normal and healthy thoughts. They are worries that acknowledge, without disturbing inner peace.
When a worry turns to “worrying,” things go wrong. Worriers are obsessed with the word “if.” What if I get sick if I go there? What if the plane crashes and I die? What if they take away my house because I can’t pay? What if I lose my job?
A good friend of mine calls this “borrowing trouble.” That has really stuck with me in my own life as I approach the worries of everyday life. It’s one thing to acknowledge something that is a legitimate concern and consider it. It’s quite another to allow yourself to run wild in “what if” scenarios, most of which are highly unlikely to happen.
What happens with “what ifs” is an emotional, mental unhinging that executes the roller coaster ride. Once the mind is in unrest, inner peace is lost. At that point, you could end up anywhere. And just watch how many crazy scenarios you can end up with. You’re borrowing trouble, because you are worrying about things that aren’t even there yet, and probably never will be.
For example, take the worry regarding paying your rent. Everyone who rents has the responsibility of getting that rent paid monthly. It’s a worry. But it has a way of getting paid. One day, you hear talk of your company being bought out and possible downsizing. You immediately start thinking about losing your job and what will happen as a result. You say “What if I lose my job and have to find a new one? What if it takes so long that I can’t pay my rent? What if I lose my apartment and am out on the street?”
First of all, you did not lose your job. In fact, there has been no official talk of anyone losing their job. Though there is, perhaps, a legitimate concern that it might happen, there is no cause for alarm. To go down the path of “what if” is only to borrow trouble. You create trouble for yourself when there is nothing there.
Why borrow trouble? The Lord’s advice is firmly to be concerned with the day’s concerns, and not project concerns for the future. Keep your eye on things, yes. But don’t lose your peace over something that isn’t anything yet.
This is the haunted house. It’s not real. When you enter a haunted house, you’re frightened by things that aren’t really there. We all have a haunted house that we’ve created for ourselves based on things that aren’t real.
The Lord advises us to live without fear. The only thing we should fear is sinning against God. All else is in God’s capable hands. We must have faith and trust in His providence and assistance. A healthy prayer life is the best way to ensure we do not enter the haunted house. A good mental balance keeps us grounded in reality.
Finding love is a tremendous worry for so many people. It’s a legitimate concern to wonder if you might ever find love. “What if I never find love? What if I’m alone the rest of my life? What if I never get to share my life with someone special? What if I never have children? What if I never have sex?”
Success. You are now an emotional wreck and have no peace. Is that what you were expecting when you decided to worry so much? Probably not. But this kind of worrying cannot take you anywhere but on this roller coaster ride through this haunted house of fears.
The fears created by these “what if” questions are not based on anything real. Yes, finding love is a legitimate concern when you desire to be married and have a family. But look how terrible you end up feeling about yourself. Nobody wants you. You’re not good enough. You won’t have what you believe you should have. The roller coaster can create the most terrifying drops and curves, if you allow it. What an incredibly well-done haunted house this is. And everything in it has been created by you, meant to terrify you out of your mental stability and inner peace.
So what is real? What’s real is the person God created you to be. Reality is that you are living your life the best you can, making decisions for yourself, and living the consequences of those decisions. When life happens, stick close to God. Stay grounded. Your faith, hard work, and positive outlook can keep you out of the haunted house.
Don’t borrow trouble by worrying about things you cannot control. Love is a great mystery. There is nothing real in that haunted house. But you’re real, and love is real. And God’s love for you is the most real and certain thing of all.
Jesus said, “Don’t worry and say ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ Your heavenly Father knows your needs. Seek first the kingdom of God. Don’t worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is it’s own evil.”