Nobody's life is worry free, but that doesn't mean our worries need to run our lives. Learning how to manage our worries can make all the difference in our well-being. This is what a busy young father learned. He had a challenging career and was feeling overwhelmed with his many responsibilities. He would come home from work every night feeling anxious and even physically ill. He found it very difficult to sleep at night. He went to his physician for help; he prayed and pondered about what to do. The man soon realized that he needed to stop worrying so much. But how would he do that?
In time, he was inspired with a simple idea: he got two baskets; one he labeled "worry" and the other "concern." Then he organized all of his challenges and responsibilities into one of the two baskets—even if only mentally. The things he could do nothing about went in the worry basket, and those he had some ability to resolve went in the concern basket.
In this way, he could focus his attention on concerns—issues over which he had some power. He could prioritize these issues and do his best to resolve as many of them as possible, without wasting time on worries that were outside of his control. Of course, just putting something in the worry basket didn't make it go away, but he did find that, if he was patient, solutions emerged—very often with divine help or even just the passage of time. The anxiety didn't vanish all at once, but whenever he felt it stirring inside him, he stopped what he was doing, prayed for support, and said to himself, "I am not going to do another thing until I begin to control my emotions." Over time, as he learned to put worry in its proper place, his health and well-being improved, and what was once a weakness in his life became one of his strengths.
Worry can be disheartening, leading us to feel overwhelmed or powerless. But when we put our worries in their proper place—whether in a basket or simply out of our minds—we can take purposeful action, be resourceful, and tackle the problems within our control. Eventually, instead of being filled with worry, our lives will be filled with patience, perspective, and peace.
Llyod D. Newell