Looking for Trouble? 3 Ways to Plan More and Worry Less
My husband frequently tells me that if there isn’t something for me to worry about, I’ll find something to worry about. I’ve been this way ever since I can remember.
I’m a worrier.
I like to blame it on my wiring… my DNA… my personality.
I’m a planner… a strategist. I’m supposed to “worry” about what’s ahead. The people I lead rely on me to think, plan, strategize and organize us to minimize risk. Heck, even my family and friends count on me to do this. Whether I’m coordinating a move or planning a vacation, I anticipate the needs and direct the best way to get there.
There is a fine line between worry and planning.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
“Do not worry about tomorrow.” I can’t tell you how much this phrase rattles me. It seems that all I do is worry about tomorrow.
Worrying is actually what I do when I don’t have control. Worry is frantic energy that showcases my desire to control all my circumstances and freak out when I can’t. Worry robs me of enjoying today because I’m fixated on tomorrow.
God didn’t design us for worry. It’s not in our wiring.
It’s not in my DNA and it’s not my personality. Worry is the way I’ve learned to cope when I feel out of control and I don’t trust God to be faithful.
Worry is not the same thing as using my God-given gifts for strategy and planning. When we plan rather than worry, we choose to partner with God. We recognize that God’s desire is to work through us. He wants to steward the gifts, talents, experiences and opportunities that we have. He wants us to actively use our minds. He wants us to be faithful with what he’s given us.
3 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Planning and Worry
- Planning is doing what you can. Worry is stressing about what you can’t. Scripture often speaks of the importance of sowing seed and planning for a harvest. An example for me as a consultant is that I can help an organization build a fantastic plan but I can’t force them to implement it. I can influence the outcome by being faithful to equip, train and encourage, but I can’t control the outcome.
- Planning is working with what is. Worry is being paranoid about the what ifs. When I plan I build steps to reach a desired outcome. When I worry I’m not taking any step but instead I’m ruminating over myriad of outcomes (which are usually not good). Think about the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 where an employer entrusts three of his workers with different amounts of money. The first two developed a plan and doubled their money. The third guy did nothing. He dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. When asked why, he said, “I was afraid.” What was he doing? He was worrying. He was afraid of what to do so he didn’t do what he could.
- Planning is proactive progress. Worry is engaging the hamster wheel of anxious thought without getting anywhere productive. Even if our plans don’t turn out exactly the way we hoped, we will often learn from the experience and are better equipped for the future. Worry drains our energy with no positive return.
Are you planning or are you worrying? Remember, “each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Plan well. Worry less!