Some time ago, Jack used this quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Do not worry about being worried. Difficult, but not impossible.” (Johnny Appleseed)
Johnny probably wasn’t walking through a country in the midst of a pandemic when he said those words, but they have great applicability today. It is quite natural to be worried, especially about the unknowns and uncertainty that we face right now. So much has happened in such a short period of time that is can feel overwhelming. It is difficult not to be worried; however, it is what you do with and about that worry that is important.
Worries that are focused inward tend to circle back upon themselves become obsessions or lead to depression. People who allow that to happen might say that they see “no way out”. In many cases, they are so focused upon the cause of the worry that they fail to even look for solutions or alternate paths to follow. Perhaps it is key to understand that sometimes there may be no solution to the problem at hand, only alternate ways to react to the situation at hand.
Such is the case with our current worry over the Corona virus pandemic. There is no solution for us to find, no matter how much we worry about it. Time and medical science will eventually provide a way out, if not a solution. In the meantime, it is important to focus on our reactions personally, and as a society, to the crisis at hand. Those who have reacted badly to the crisis have stockpiled toilet paper and hoarded other essential supplies. They have focused inward and allowed their worries to drag them into panic and despair. So far, the fabric of our society has been stretched a bit by those who have panicked, but not torn asunder.
What is the alternate path in all of this? Perhaps it is to turn your worry from being inwardly focused and concerned only about yourself and your own well-being to an outward focus. These are certainly trying times for all of us, but consider how much more trying they are for those who entered into this crisis with little or nothing to begin with or with pre-existing conditions that make them the most vulnerable. Worry also about the “collateral damage” that is being caused by the steps that the government has taken to try to prevent the spread of the virus – the business shutdowns that have thrown millions out of work and threaten the very existence of most small businesses. Then, turn your worries into action, with plans to try to provide help.
By turning your worries into a commitment to be a part of the solution, instead of just another part of the problem, you will quickly find that you have no time left to worry about yourself. A good starting point for turning your worries around is to pray for God’s help – not for His relief from the circumstances that you are in; but, for the strength and faith to persevere and the vision to see a different path – a different purpose in the midst of the crisis. There are just tons of things that need to be done for others that you can commit yourself to with various organizations in your community – meals to be packed and delivered, shut-ins to be check upon, children who need care while their parents work, the list goes on.
Is there a lot to be worried about? Sure. Is the answer to sit and stew in your personal worries? No. God has other plans for you. Ask for His help and then go do what he needs you to do to help get everyone through this crisis. You can worry about things later. Right now, there is work to do. It’s God’s work and he needs your hands. Perhaps we should change the lyrics to the most famous Bobby McFerrin song to “Don’t worry, get busy!”