Do Not Fret // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

“Fret not because of evil doers.” (Psalm 37:1)

In these dark and troubled times, we don’t have to look too far to find evil doers.

Within the past two years, we have tutored by painful experiences about the new realities we face.

There are “evil-doers” in this world:
* radical terrorists who fly airplanes into buildings,
* suicide bombers who target the young and the innocent.
* drug frenzied gang members who steal and murder.
* dictators who stockpile weapons of mass destruction.
* Al Qaida.

The events of the past year or so have redefined evil for us. Suddenly, the back fence gossipers and loud mouth critics don’t seem quite so bad. It’s all a matter of perspective. The problems which seemed like overwhelming mountains on September 10, 2001 shrank to little pebbles on September 11. The presence of real evil puts our small annoyances in their place.

Yet, we have to deal with everyday life issues — including our enemies, nay-sayers, and those who betray our trust.

How do we keep our hearts at peace when evil doers threaten at the doors? We Fret Not! By refusing to fret, we conquer them.

If terrorists fill us with terror — they win. If we refuse to fret — we win.

Sometimes we fret without even realizing it. To “fret”, according to Webster is “to be irritated, to worry, to gnaw, to chafe, to wear away.” The difference between problem solving and fretting is this: You problem solve with your head and you fret with your tummy.

Have you fallen into a fretting habit? Not sure? Here are a few symptoms which may expose this negative pattern in your life. (I’ll use the acrostic F.R.E.T.)

False Perception of Reality: Fretting demonstrates a warped sense of truth. The problem gets bigger every time we poke at it. Tall and dark shadows are not usually what they seem. When we capture the big picture, the situation looks brighter. I recently told my congregation, “As long as God is on the throne and your faith is still intact, then everything is going to be alright!”

Reaction instead of Response: Fearful thoughts lead to foolish behaviors. We end up reacting with our emotions rather than responding thoughtfully. If you take the time to think through an issue, you’ll be glad you did. I don’t know anybody who has regretted thinking before acting. On the other hand, there are thousands who wish they had thought first rather than jumping the gun. (Ready, Aim, Fire is much better than Ready, Fire, Oops)

Energy Drained by Dread. A day spent in worry takes about ten times more energy than a day of hard manual labor. The heavy stress most people feel is the energy drain as they play out “what if’s” in the imagination. Anxiety creates a hole in the soul and all of the positive energy leaks out.

Trouble Finding: If you look for trouble, you will find it. If you go fishing for big problems, they’ll jump right on your line. You can make Trouble the center of your life, and there will always be plenty to go around. But collecting troubles is a crummy way to invest your days.

Instead, why not start looking for solutions instead of problems. Seek answers for the perplexing questions. Look for the good rather than the bad. Discover what’s right rather than what’s wrong. “Don’t trouble trouble ’til trouble troubles you.”

In this world, we are guaranteed to have difficulties– that’s not an option. It’s a fact of life. We can decide, however, how we are going to handle these troubles.

My friend, Lori Hessel, made the following insightful observation, “On the road of life, we all run into problems. It is our choice whether to turn those problems into road blocks or speed bumps.”

I’ll vote for the speed bumps.

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