Have you ever worried about the future?
I admit that was a pretty dumb question. Of course you have. We all have. Some more than others, of course, but it’s a pretty universal problem.
Why do we do it?
We’re afraid. We don’t know what might come. We want security. We want good things to happen. We know that bad things can and will happen sometimes, but we don’t want them to.
We want to be in control.
I went on a silent retreat this weekend. There was a lot more to it than what I’ll reiterate here, and it was a very eye-opening and refreshing experience. But for now, I just want to share one thing that I was reminded of.
We’ve heard these words more times than we can count, but they are still worth hearing. We forget them. We even ignore them sometimes.
But here they are again. Four small words.
Do not be afraid.
Read them again.
Do. Not. Be. Afraid.
This is no easy task. It’s natural for us to be fearful of things, including the future — sometimes especially the future. But you know something? We’re not the ones in control. This is not easy to accept, but I believe it is true. I am in control of myself and am responsible for my actions, yes. But I do not control the world or other people’s actions. Therefore, there is uncertainty ahead.
I have trouble with uncertainty. You probably do too.
With that in mind, another thought. Recently, a show called Gravity Falls aired its final episode. It was a near-perfect ending, in my book. During the silent retreat this weekend, after repeating “do not be afraid” to myself, I was reminded of the show.
But I wasn’t reminded of the finale. I was reminded of the second-to-last episode, particularly a scene in which one character is terrified of the future and another character is trying to convince her that she shouldn’t live in denial about it.
“You’re scared — of growing up,” he tells her. “And who could blame you? I’m scared too.”
A little later in the scene, he tells her this:
“I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future, but whatever it is, you don’t have to fear, because we’ll do it together.”
Look, I don’t want to get too preachy. But we can’t control everything that happens in our lives. So what’s the point of worrying about the future?
I seem to remember Jesus having a few words to say about this. “Which of you, by worrying, can add even a moment to your life?”
Do not be afraid. Whatever comes, comes. Good and bad.
Will it be easy? Heck no.
But you’re not alone.
Do not be afraid.
Live. Learn. Love.
Let’s do it together.
One day at a time.