There are many idioms and proverbs about worry, such as “bated breath, cat on hot bricks, heebie-jeebies.” Indeed, why did Jesus remind us not to worry about tomorrow? It’s because being human means we will worry; we will worry about tomorrow. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are concepts of time, and humans, being creatures with a sense of time, are also constrained by time. We reminisce about the past, especially as we grow older, fondly recalling our youth. However, we cannot go back to the past to rectify mistakes or make different decisions. Similarly, we imagine future events, plan for the future, and make preparations, but we can never foresee what the future is like or what will happen. So, as the new year begins, even before it arrives, books on fortune-telling for the coming Chinese year flood the market of Chinese community, reflecting the human predicament of knowing nothing about the future.
Concerning the unpredictable or uncontrollable future, we feel powerless. Coupled with the capacity for memory and imagination, frequent negative and pessimistic thoughts can lead to anxiety. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus mentions our worries about food and clothing, about what we will eat and drink and what we will wear. Clothing and food are basic needs, but sometimes these needs extend beyond mere sustenance. We start pursuing enjoyment and fashion derived from clothing and food. Today, basic needs also include other things like housing, transportation, phones, water, electricity, gas, internet and so on. People constantly expand basic needs, but the added elements, such as vacations, interest class fees, Spotify Premium—are these truly basic? Often, we worry about non-essential needs, just to maintain a certain lifestyle.
How can we overcome worry?
- Look from Another Perspective
Jesus guides us to shift our focus from our own lives and bodies to things beyond ourselves, like nature, the birds in the sky, and the flowers in the field. We should understand that creation receives the best care from the Creator. They do not worry about their lives, bodies, or clothing, yet they are still provided for.
- Trust in the All-Knowing Heavenly Father
The Creator is our intimate Heavenly Father, loving us and willing to care for us. Our Heavenly Father knows everything, understands our true needs better than we do, and provides for us according to His understanding of our substantial needs.
- Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness
God’s promise is that all these things will be given to you, but the condition is that the priority of our lives must be centred on God. We should first focus on God’s kingdom and what matters to God. Placing ourselves at the centre, prioritizing our own needs, is the attitude of unbelievers and the root cause of anxiety.
Let’s pray that the Lord helps us overcome worry in the new year and learn to trust in our meticulous Heavenly Father.