Today is my annual slow down day. Every year on my birthday at the encouragement of my wife, I slow down and just move at my own pace for the day. It’s one of the few opportunities when I feel I can rest and not worry about every detail. It’s a great time to reflect and put things in perspective. So this morning I am outside watching everyone else speed up while I rock on the porch with caffeine in hand. I find myself wondering why I let so many things crowd my mind with concerns and worries all other days of the year. Is there really that much for me to worry about that warrants missing out on life?
When I was growing up, it was always easy to tell when daddy was worried about something. He would quietly eat dinner, and then excuse himself as he took a long walk down the dirt road on which we lived. We always knew something was wrong when daddy started down the road. We all have our own ways of worrying. For me it is busy work. When I am worried, I seem to fixate on a church project or problem and then pay meticulous detail to it. Often times that detail comes at the expense of my family. Unfortunately I am usually not aware of it until I have missed something that should have been more important to me.
One night a few years ago, I was wrapped up in my worry mode work, when my young son asked if I would play with him. Looking back my response was a far too automated…”As soon as I finish.” He put his hand on mine and said, “But daddy, when you‘re like this you never finish!” Startled by his words, I glanced down at the project on which I had been working. In a couple of hours I had managed to create a mess and complete nothing! A few days later, I asked my father if he still took long walks to think about his problems like he did when I was younger. Correcting me quickly, he said…”The walks were not to think, but to pray!”
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus speaks about worry. He points out that God has provided for all of nature and will also provide for us. The entire passage reminds us to be focused on being the best Christian we can be in all aspects of our lives, and these needs and problems will work out. Jesus is teaching us the importance of faithful living in the moment. He says, “Don‘t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today‘s trouble is enough for today.”
On my sixteenth birthday, I listened to a group of doctors break the news to us that I probably wouldn’t live to see my twentieth birthday. Twenty-eight years later I’m still here rocking and realizing that my worries are keeping me from fully living my life. The worries I was full of yesterday don’t measure up to the blessings in my life everyday. We can get so wrapped up in our concerns and problems that we drown out life and God. We isolate ourselves from the spiritual guidance and answers that we need and seek.
Today in my rocking chair I’m going to count my blessings, starting with you. I’m also going to try real hard to remember just how much worrying is like rocking in a chair. It will give you something to do, but it won‘t get you very far.