Jesus Says, “Don’t Worry” (Come, Follow Me: Matthew 6) – powered by Happy Scribe
Let me share a story with you. A mother noticed her son wasn’t in the Chapel just before sacrament meeting was about to begin. She looked throughout the hallways and finally spotted him sitting outside on a curb with his head in his hands. She approached him saying, Son, we have to go to Church now. Sacrament meeting is about to begin. The son replied, I don’t want to go, mom. I’m worried sick about it. Why? His mother asked. I’ll give you three reasons, the son said. Number one, no one likes me. Number two, no one talks to me. Number three, I’m afraid of the teenagers. The mother replied, Honey, I know you’re worried, but I’ll give you three reasons why you need to come to church today. Number one, to take the sacrament. Number two, you’re 45 years old. Number three, you’re the bishop. All of us worry at times, even the bishop. In fact, worry might be one of Satan’s greatest weapons to destroy our peace. But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. He also said, Do not worry about your life.
Christ then says, can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your span of life? Why do you worry? Do not worry. Over and over again, the Savior says, Don’t worry. Of course, we should be prepared for the future, but we don’t need to worry about it. I love what President Monson taught. Life by the yard is hard. By the inch, it’s a centch. Each of us can be true for just one day, and then one more, and then one more after that. I want to be clear that as we’re discussing worry, I’m not talking about clinical depression or anxiety. I’m talking about the normal but still significant worries that plague many of us. Personally, I worry a lot. As recently as 3 AM this morning, I was up worrying about a challenging issue. So I acknowledge that worries are real. I also take comfort in the fact that psychological studies show that most things we we worry about don’t happen. As Mark Twain has reported to have said, I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. In other words, he was worried about a lot of things that didn’t happen.
We also overestimate how devastated we will be by future events. For example, people who predicted how they would feel if they were diagnosed with a serious illness thought they would be much less happy than those who were actually diagnosed with the same illness. College students thought that if they had to live in less desirable dorms, that they would not be as happy as they would be if they got to stay in the better dormitories. But in fact, students reported being equally happy, regardless of which dormitory they were assigned. All their worry about which dorm they would be assigned to was useless. Even when bad things happen to us, the result often isn’t as bad as we might worry. Researchers found that across a variety of negative events, like being a victim of violent crime, serious illness, financial problems, and so forth, that between three to six months after the negative event, most people reported equal levels of happiness as they had had before the event occurred. The bottom line from dozens of psychological studies is that we generally, one, overestimate how likely it is that the thing we are worried about will happen. Two, overestimate how devastated will be by future negative events.
And three, underestimate our ability to bounce back should the thing we are worried about actually happen. All these skewed estimations increase our worry. Imagine this circle representing the actual amount of damage something you’re worried about will likely do to you. We think what we’re worried about is likelier to happen than it is, so it feels bigger. We think what we’re worried about will hurt more than it really will. We think we’ll be less able to cope than we actually will be. The combined result is a worry that’s actually pretty small can feel really big. So let’s take the Savior’s invitation. Do not worry. As we focus on Him, we will find peace. When other Le Grand Richards, an apostle who lived to be 96 years old, was asked the secret to his long life, he said the answer was found in this poem, For every worry under the sun, there is a remedy, or there is none. If there be one, hurry and find it. If there be none, never mind it. In other words, if you’re worried about something, either act to resolve the problem, or if there’s no action you can take, turn the worry over to the Lord and forget about it.
This advice can be particularly helpful when our worries concern things we can’t control, like the choices made by others. You can’t control what your parents, siblings, or others choose to do. Remember the Savior’s words, do not worry. Probably you have a beautiful life right now and everything’s going great, but there might be some people watching this video right now who are just barely hanging on. Remember, life by the inch is a cinch. You don’t have to survive for the next year, just today. Do not worry. To see more videos like this one, simply search Seeking Jesus.