In 1988, Bobby McFerrin wrote the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” His advice – in the face of life’s troubles, worrying just makes things worse. So… don’t worry, be happy.
God has a similar opinion about worry. It’s found in Philippians 4:6-7.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Don’t worry. Be Happy.
Those words are easy to say, but not so easy to do. Our hearts and minds are often burdened by the worries of this world.
Though the bottom line is to stay close to God and His ways, and to trust Him with everything in our lives, we also need to be responsible with how we are living. Here’s a very simple exercise that was shared with me many years ago. It has helped me throughout the years when I’ve found myself in a place where I was worrying about a lot of things.
Make a list of all the things you are worried about.
Find a quiet space and time and write out everything in your life that you are worried about. It could be health, or family members, or finances, or whatever. If it’s something in your life that you are worried about, put it on the list.
Divide that list into the things you can do something about… and the things you can’t.
Group together all the things you’re worried about that you could actually do something about. The things where it’s possible for you to do something to make it better, or make it happen, or keep it from happening.
Then group together the things that you can’t do anything about. There is nothing you could do to change the bottom line of the situation that is worrying you. These things are ultimately out of your control.
Brainstorm ideas that will help you fix the things you can do something about.
If you can do something to make things better, don’t just sit there worrying, or even just praying. Do something. For example, if you don’t have enough money to meet your expenses, think of ways you could make more money or spend less.
Write out some ideas beside each of the items on this list. Practical things that you could do. Pray for God’s leading and wisdom and strength, then do something to make these things better!
Turn the things you can’t do anything about over to God.
There will be many things in this life that are out of our control. Oh there may be some things we can do to try to “fix it,” but ultimately it’s out of our control. Having a baby. Surviving cancer. Having a loved one come into a personal relationship with God.
But nothing is out of God’s control. Everything that touches our lives is filtered through His hands of love. He has the power to change things. He has the power to give us peace, both through the process and also whether things turn out the way we want them to or not.
Don’t worry, be happy.
My hope for you is that you will grow in your understanding of who God is, so you will know that…
- He is a God who loves you more than you will ever understand
- He is in control of everything that touches your life
- He can be trusted with your todays, and tomorrows, and forever
As you come to understand those truths deeper and deeper within your soul, you will realize that you don’t need to worry. You can be at peace and be happy, no matter what comes your way.
by Bernice Gudgel