Useless Anxieties

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Matthew 6:27

So it is useless to worry. A short person cannot, by any amount of anxiety, make himself an inch taller. Why, therefore, should he waste his energy and fret his life away in wishing he were an inch taller? One worries because he is too short, another because he is too tall; one because he too lean, another because he is too fat; one because he has a lame foot, another because he has a mole on his face. No amount of fretting will change any of these things.

People worry, too, over their circumstances. They are poor, and have to work hard. They have troubles, losses, and disappointments which come through causes entirely beyond their own control. They find difficulties in their environment which they cannot surmount. There are hard conditions in their lot which they cannot change.

Now why should they worry about these things? Will worrying make matters any better? Will discontent cure the lame foot, or remove the ugly mole, or reduce corpulency, or put flesh on the thin body? Will chafing make the hard work lighter, or the burdens easier, or the troubles fewer? Will anxiety keep the winter away, or the storm from rising, or put coal in the cellar, or bread in the pantry, or get clothes for the children? Even wise philosophy shows the uselessness of worrying, since it helps nothing, and only wastes one‘s strength and unfits one for doing one’s best.

Then religion goes farther, and says that even the hard things and the obstacles are blessings, if we meet them in the right spirit; stepping-stones lifting our feet upward, disciplinary experiences in which we grow. So we learn that we should quietly, and with faith, accept life as it comes to us, fretting at nothing, changing hard conditions to easier if we can; if we cannot, then using them as means for growth and advancement.