It’s spring! If the time change and allergies have not already alerted you to that fact, just drive up I-37 to San Antonio. It’s a patchwork of color with the blue bonnets, Indian paintbrushes and evening primrose all in bloom. As I drove along I was reminded of Jesus’ words to the disciples about worry. He said not to worry about things like what you eat or drink, or what kinds of clothes you wear. “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown in the oven, how much more will he clothe you …” (Luke 12:27-28). The hill country is decked out better than anyone walking a red carpet, and all because God created it to do and be such!
But still we worry. We worry about such things (and this is coming from a self-confessed clothes horse!) We worry about how to live within our means. We worry when we live beyond our means. We worry about how we will make it through today and what the future will bring. We worry a lot. We worry too much!
Worry is different from concern. We all need to take steps to live within our means, and plan for the future. But we don’t have to worry about it. Worry is obsessive behavior. We can become fixated on our concerns and become so focused on them that we are unaware of the blessings around us. We develop a type of tunnel-vision and miss the opportunities to be a part of what God is doing all around us. We can be so absorbed in our problems and issues that we can drive along the highway and never notice the riot of colors that surround us. That is the type of worry that Jesus doesn’t want us to take part in and it takes some work not to do it. We need to practice letting go and being aware of what is going on around us.
How do we do that? For one thing, if you’re driving to work or home, turn off the radio or the iPod. Open the windows to let some fresh air in (yes, even if you drive 70 miles an hour on 361), and just pay attention to what is around you.
If you walk or run for exercise, leave the iPod at home, take a different route and see what you can see. Drive a different way home. Your mind will start to wander to your worries, but when it does don’t dwell on them. Just remember the lilies of the field and let them draw your attention again. And as you become aware of all the beauty around you, you will find rest and refreshment for your souls. Happy, happy spring!
Tricia Tedrow is interim pastor at Community Presbyterian Church in Port Aransas.