“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – Matthew 6: 25-27
It is so easy to worry about things, especially in college, and especially as the spring semester is winding to a close. Some students become anxious about their grades, others about what their schedule will be like next semester. Some worry about finding that summer job to get them by until the fall, while others (like myself) who are graduating are worried about finding the job as they move forward into their careers. This time of year is full of worry…but my question is why?
It seems, that so much extra energy is essentially wasted by worrying. But it is such a hard habit to break. It is easy for someone to tell you “oh, don’t worry about it” but it is harder to tell yourself or to make yourself stop worrying. And we are all guilty of it. Sometimes, I think, we are too concerned with the outcome, too concerned with the bigger picture, that we miss what we are experiencing in the present moment.
As the saying goes, how do you swallow an elephant? The answer, of course, is “one bite at a time”. Though this may sound silly, I think it is very practical advice for how we live our lives. Sometimes we see our obstacles as elephants, and we dont know how we are possibly going to overcome it, but somehow, one small step at a time, we do.
Lent is fast approaching, and it is a time when most Catholics decide to give something up in their lives in order to spend more time devoted to God and to their faith. Sometimes people choose to give up coffee or desserts, or maybe even social media like Facebook or Twitter. But I think this year, I am going to “give up” worry. But I plan to have a very deliberate plan to do this. I want to first take the time to realize when I am worrying too much, the second thing I want to do is take a moment to take a few deep breaths, and say a quick prayer or choose a quick pleasant thought to re-direct my energy, and third, I want to take a moment and make an action plan for how I am going to change the things that I can about the situation that is making me worry. I think by letting some of these things out of my head and down onto paper, I can let them go and stop worrying about them, at least I hope this is true.
But, whether it is Lent or not, I think it is a good idea that we all let go of worry in our lives, because what purpose does it really serve? Just like the Bible passage at the beginning of this blog, worrying does not allow us to gain any extra moments in our lives, in fact, if anything, it just makes the present moments less enjoyable. In addition, sometimes we worry about things that we have no control over, so in worrying, we are not gaining any more or any less control of the situation, so why do it at all?
Like I learned in Africa last summer “Hakuna Matata” which literally means “have no worries”. This does not mean don’t have a plan, it simply means recognizing that even if that plan doesn’t go exactly the way we invision it to go, it does not mean that we have failed.In many ways, it comes down to appreciating the moment at hand, doing what you can do with that moment in time, and doing our very best. That is all that anyone could ask of us, and certainly all we can ask of ourselves. Remember that we always have a support system nearby, in our friends, our families, and in our faith that will surely never let us fail.
Happy spring break to all Walsh students, and take this week to start your journey toward a worry free end to the semester!