In case you don’t recall, I am the one who realized that she was trying to give up worrying for Lent. I admit within the last week I spent at least one night lying awake far too late panicking about the future. It is not always easy to step back from yourself and try to redirect your chain of thought to the present moment.
I have always been a planner. I’ve had weekly plans, yearly plans and of course, 5-year plans. I had always drawn the line at 10 year plans as it seemed impossible to really plan anything out that far in advance. This meant that if things were not seemingly going to plan I dealt with huge amounts of worry and anxiety over it. But there are so many things in life that you cannot expect or prepare for- even if you think you can.
I had recently been attending a church service directed towards elderly in nursing homes. (Aka volunteering in the chapel at a nursing home). And I felt that I was not getting much out of it, that I was not connecting much with the readings. Until the last Sunday that I attended there. The gospel reading was Matthew 6: 25-34. I’ll include the except here
25 “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 than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Although individuals who are not spiritual may not initially connect with this- they should agree that worrying is a completely useless action. Dealing with things one day, and one moment at a time is the only way that I can be present in the moment, and prevent my worry-cycle from spiraling out of control. All in all, I’ve felt better since attempting this Lenten devotion, the amount of time I spend worrying has decreased significantly, and while I have not attained worry-free perfection, the mindfulness is helping me to live a more present and less stressed life.