Mark Twain once said, “I have worried about a lot of things in my life, most of which never happened.” There have been a few times too many that I have fretted about something that might happen. To do so has caused anxiety, needless concern and even feelings of depression.
When things turn out in a more cheery manner, I have wondered why I wasted time and energy in such a negative way.
Sometimes I have laughingly referred to my Italian heritage when my knee-jerk reaction to a bit of negative news is to gasp and go into a reactive state. Maybe the years piling up on me have caused me to rethink that kind of reaction. Maybe I am just too tired to get so riled up. Or maybe I am finally learning to put my faith where it is supposed to be — squarely relying upon our Savior. He has everything under control.
For those difficult times that actually do come, I can steady myself in Him. The intensity of the first moments of sadness, shock or anger will subside, and I will continue on through his grace and goodness. Otherwise, I am missing the opportunities given me to grow through times of scarring and learn through times of disappointment.
But to fret about something that might — possibly — someday happen? What is the point? Why not at least wait until the bitter news comes to be depressed? Then, hope can replace hopelessness!
Some of the reasons Satan would love for us to worry are these:
- Lack of efficiency. Our minds are preoccupied and we cannot think as clearly as we may want.
Hope allows us to remove the inefficiencies within us. Getting quickly through the thoughts that bring us worrisome feelings can grant us that great ability to regain self-control.
- Dark clouds hang over us. Darkness is dangerous, whether it is physical, emotional, or mental in nature. Lost in those dark clouds, it is harder for positive or sunshiny thoughts to emerge.
Hope pushes the dark clouds away as surely as strong winds blow clouds across a sky. Getting out of the darkness, and examining our feelings, thoughts, and situations in the light of day grants us a great measure of peace. We stop imagining the worst. The sunshine can return to our troubled souls.
- Our mood sours. If you have ever had friends or loved ones ask, “What is wrong?” because they can tell something is up, you understand how the sour mood affects those around us as well as ourselves.
Hope can turn a frown upside down. I remember, as a young Girl Scout, singing a song about turning frowns upside down. It was a fun song to sing. It made me feel happy inside. It brought smiles to all of us young girls. If I carried that smile back home with me (and I honestly cannot remember the details of those Girl Scout days), it undoubtedly was a bonus for my family. A sour mood is a waste of our time. It is a waste of our divine makeup. What a blessing it can be for us to quickly grab hold of hope and shift that sour mood!
There are times of dark clouds and disappointment. Those are times when we must rely on our understanding and on the blessings of heavenly solace and direction. For those times of concern about something that has not even yet occurred — and may never trouble us — heaven can help us to avoid the pitfall of needless worry.
With keener sight, we see a much brighter picture. Discouragement goes the way of storms that are over and done with, while reason replaces consternation. Hope smiles brightly before us!