Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble . . .
Trouble been doggin’ my soul, since the day I was born
Worry, worry, worry, worry . . .
Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone.
Been there? I have. Trouble is lousy – whatever kind you can think of, I don’t like it.
Worry sucks, too. Have you ever laid awake at night, so worried about something that you couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think of anything else? Sometimes, if I let it, worry paralyzes me until I can’t write, can’t think.
There will always be trouble in this life, but there doesn’t have to be worry.
What’s your response to trouble? Here are four options for taking the worry out of trouble:
1) Be patient – did you know that 95% of the things we worry about never even happen? I have no idea how someone goes about creating a statistic like that – sounds suspiciously made up – but it’s roughly true in my life. When trouble seems to loom, instead of hitting the panic button, how about taking on a “wait-and-see” attitude?
2) Meditate – for all of you who don’t have a problem with a little quiet time: palms up, palms down; release, accept; let go of your worries, accept inner peace. Some people believe this only works in California, or at least just on the left coast – not true. I’m in the heartland of Anabaptism, surrounded by Amish and Mennonite churches, and I still find meditation to be one of the best ways of starting my day and attaining a sense of peace and balance.
3) Be generous – if you are inundated with worries and want to rid yourself of them, nothing works quite as well as being generous, especially in the area you are worried about. Stressed about money? Give some away. Worried about a family member? Help someone else’s family member through a tough time. Relationship troubles? Spend some time helping someone else sort through their own relational mess.
4) Let it be an opportunity for joy – maybe the toughest of the four, but if you can learn to transform troubles into joy, shoot, you’ve found the golden ticket. Sometimes the things that seem the biggest trouble end up launching us into some of the best things we could imagine – I’ve experienced that: a failing business and huge amounts of debt forced Maile and I to make a difficult choice, and now I’m living the life I always dreamed of. This brings us back to patience – can we wait out the trouble, without worrying, long enough to experience the good on the other side? And, believing there is good on the other side, can we suddenly let trouble be a reason for joy, since we know it will lead to something good?
Trouble is inevitable. Worry? Not so much.
How do you keep your troubles from turning into worry?