This year I think I’ll give up worry for Lent. The newspaper called yesterday Fat Tuesday, a day where many indulge in gluttonous feasting or revelry. Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of intentional preparation for Easter. During this season, believers focus on self-examination, reflection, and repentance.
Traditionally, Christians give up something of importance to them during Lent. I have friends who give up one or more of their favorite things such as chocolate, coffee, sugar, or soft drinks. But since I am all too often compelled to worry, I think I’ll try to give it up for at least 40 days.
I don’t really like to worry. In fact, it’s not constructive. Worry is like spam or junk mail. It just takes up valuable space in my mind, space needed for creative thinking, planning, visioning, and problem solving. And I know I function better when I am not weighted down with excessive worry. But each time I kick worry out the front door of my mind, it seems to sneak around and re-enter through the back door.
Years ago a friend of mind had a huge poster mounted on the wall over his desk that said, “Don’t tell me worry doesn’t help. Half of the things I worry about never happen.”
I think worry is genetic. At least one of my grandparents and one of my parents would sit and worry for hours. It’s no wonder that I have a pre-disposition toward this mental distraction.
And I am in good company. I frequently have coffee with CEO’s, ministers, business owners, attorneys, physicians, and educators and they all tend to suffer from a similar dilemma. That is not surprising because there are so many things about which a person can worry… your business, your family, your investments, terrorism, the economy, the future. The list seems endless.
Perhaps my friends should give up worry for Lent also. Since Lent is a time of intentional preparation for Easter, maybe we should listen again to the words of Jesus who urged his followers to give up worry:
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? Matthew 6:25-27
Today is Ash Wednesday, I am going to try to give up worry for at least 40 days…and maybe, hopefully, longer.