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Don’t borrow trouble

There are many troublesome things in life: the economy, poverty, crime, and disease, just to name a few. And if these issues aren’t enough, there’s also the worry associated with everything that’s just beyond our control.

Worry can dominate your life.

So can fear.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34, the Bible

It’s easy to fall victim to worry and fear.

Did you realize that the Bible mentions some version of the phrase “Do not worry” or “Do not fear” over 200 times?

What can we conclude from this? — We are going to worry. It’s a natural, human experience.

I think the goal is not to eliminate worry and fear, because it can serve a good purpose.

The goal – keep things in perspective.

Four years ago, my father-in-law died from cancer in his brain. As the disease progressed and took over his life, he changed. And so did those around him, most notably my mother-in-law.

Several weeks before his passing, my wife was talking with her mother about all the things that could happen as Dad’s cancer spread, and the care that progression would entail.

What if this happens? What if that happens? and so on.

Her mother’s response to these questions was some of the wisest counsel I’ve heard: “Honey, don’t borrow trouble.”

Don’t borrow trouble.

There are many times to be overwhelmed with the unknown. It can dominate every thought, ruminating on things you cannot control or are unable to address.

I am not saying that planning ahead or being prepared is a bad thing to do. But obsessing about the planning is unhealthy.

In my mother-in-law’s case, she was simply focusing on the tasks right in front of her, and, more importantly, making the most of every moment with her husband.

For her to worry about the future would have meant her missing some of the present. Besides, the future was beyond her control. She wisely chose to live in the moment; tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

Where do you borrow trouble in your life? Where do you get so caught up in the planning of the future and all its tasks that you miss the moments going on right in front of you?

This week, slow down and enjoy the evenings with your family. Sit outside at sunset and watch the colors change in the sky. Wrestle with your kids in the front yard. Play catch. Go for a walk with your spouse. And while you do any or all of these things, don’t borrow trouble — you may miss what’s right in front of you.

What has helped you live in the moment? What has helped you enjoy the blessings life has to offer right now?

Reading Time:

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  1. Anthony from CharismaticKid

    Someone significant in my life who taught me to get rid of worry and guilt is Wayne Dyer. His book “Your Erroneous Zones” change my life.

    That book is so amazing that I was never the same once I was finished. He adds in Christian values as well, which I think you’d like Corey.

  2. Karen@TreeChanged

    Watching my children grow before my eyes really helps me live in the moment. My husband too, has taught me to relax. So often, the things we really worry about don’t happen; besides which, worrying does not change the outcome! (I still worry though)

  3. Micha

    If something worries me, it is most important to talk with my husband. Talking helps us both to calm down.

  4. Talya

    This is a great post and such a wonderful reminder. My mother was diagnosed with state 4 ovarian cancer six years ago and at the time was given 3-6 months to live due to the advanced state of the disease. She was miraculously healed and has been healthy ever since, but her faith and peace during such a dark time were inspiring. Now when I face difficulties I simply have to think back to that time and my mother’s will to survive (as well as her willingness to move on had she not been healed), and my own problems fade away quickly. And I am a natural over-analyzer/worrier, so this is a big help!


    • Jenny

      What a blessing to have such a great example from your mother. It sounds like she knows how to keep all things in perspective.

      Thanks for sharing.

  5. Michele

    I agree with the above comments with the emphasis on relationships and communication. Having friends and family to talk with when “trouble” comes is a gift. xoxo michele

  6. Mandy

    I’m a horrible worrywart. I love: “Don’t borrow trouble.” And the reminder not to ruin the present by worrying about the future. I’ve been reading Running Scared by Ed Welch. One of my favorite books ever. Just wrote a post about it yesterday. Funny how the topic of worry is popping up everywhere. God’s saying, “Pay attention to this. You need to learn something new.” Thanks for this post.

  7. Jenny

    As I’ve looked back at all the things I chose to worry about, almost none of them came to fruition…I worried for nothing. It never happened.

    I also read an excellent book, The 4:8 Principle. Reading that book really helped me begin to get a handle on my thought life.

    Great post first thing in the morning!

  8. Sarah

    I am guilty of this all the time – my husband calls it “advanced fuss.” Sometimes I let thoughts plagued me – what if this happens/what if that happens? I try to remember that 99% of the things I worry about NEVER happen. And, if something comes up, I am well equipped to deal with it. And that’s all I can do!

    • Corey

      That thought is a great one. It actually works well as a mantra for fear … whatever happens I can handle it.

      Thanks for adding this.

  9. andie

    fantastic post.

  10. Living the Balanced Life

    My husband had a brain aneurysm 2.5 years ago. He went through a very scary time, but he is a walking miracle. I try to remember that each and every day is special and work to cherish it. I am not always perfect at it, but it is what I go back to!

  11. SJN

    Who knows what the future will bring? 4 years and 4 surgeries later for a rare cancer that even the doctors don’t know what will happen. I feel like I just have to live to the fullest in between, b/c I don’t know when the 5th time will be. My blessings still outweigh my hardships and life is good!

  12. Larissa

    Not only does the Bible say “Do Not Worry” or “Do Not Fear” over 200 times – He actually said it 365 times … once for every day of the year!!
    Though I don’t always remember this, I do feel comforted when I remember that everything is in God’s hands – that we cannot change the future, only the choices we make in response to our circumstances right now.
    Thankyou for this post – it’s always good to be reminded, and what a lovely saying! “Don’t Borrow Trouble” – one for the wall for sure!!

    • Corey

      I had no idea it was that many times. Thanks for the comment.

  13. Tammy

    Wow! this is exactly what I needed today! My husband and I just found out we are having a surprise third baby! While this is definitely a blessing for us, it has also come at a challenging time in our lives financially and otherwise. I am also finishing up school and today specifically I am supposed to be focusing on studying for my big final exam, instead I am worrying about what adding another person into our life right now is going to be like. This post has reminded me that the baby isn’t coming this week, my exam is. And also that the baby is coming because for whatever reason, God thinks that this is the right time and there is no sense worrying over it.

  14. Sharon

    Thank you so much for this reminder-was perfect to land in my inbox this morning.

  15. dmd

    I live in New Orleans and my house was flooded with seven feet of water during Katrina. Afterwards, everyone kept asking how I was, and what was I going to do, and so forth. I think they were actually disturbed that I was not drowning in worry. But we were alive, we got out well in advance, and much as I missed some things we lost, they were just that – things.

    From this experience, I’ve learned that in most cases, I compartmentalize problems. That is, there was absolutely nothing I could do about what had happened and what was to come would unfold in due time. So it was put in its appropriate place and I just lived life as it was at that time.

    That said…the one area of my life I’m not as good at following this is with regards to my son. I do worry about him. I guess it’s a process of learning.

  16. Lois

    Studying a little on the Five Element Theory of Chinese medicine. You can’t separate the mind/body/spirit. Each of our body organ systems has an EMOTION attached. This is the cycle:

    Life and death STARTS in the kidney…
    The emotion of the Kidney/bladder is FEAR.
    The emotion of the liver/gallbladder is ANGER.
    The emotion of the heart/small intestine/endocrine system is JOY/SORROW.
    The emotion of the Digestive system/stomach is WORRY/SYMPATHY.
    The emotion of the Lung/large intestine (bowel) is GRIEF/DEPRESSION.

    The body can make the mind sick, and visa versa.
    You can’t separate the mind/body/spirit.

    My thought….We must keep the armor of God’s Word to help keep us balanced. We must eat, sleep, exercise the best we can. Be happy as we can.

  17. Laundry Lady

    It’s hard not to worry about the “what if’s” when they’ve actually happened before. I’m pregnant for the third time, having suffered a miscarriage with my second back in March. I’m having a very hard time enjoying this pregnancy because I know what might happen and I’m not sure how I’ll cope with the loss of another child. That being said, the joyful reactions of the few friends I’ve told do help.

    • Erika

      I had the exact same situation 4 years ago before I gave birth to our second child, a healthy son. It took me nearly 20 weeks before I could start to relax and believe that nothing would go wrong. Finding out his gender seemed to help too, making the baby seem “more real”. Now I can say truthfully that he helped heal my broken heart!
      Wishing you a healthy pregnancy and peace! 🙂

  18. Ryan (The Woven Moments)

    What a fantastic post! Currently I’m borrowing trouble by worrying about this heat wave and whether it will make my daughter’s birthday party a miserable failure. And yet, I’m completely powerless.

    So maybe I should let it go and just turn on the sprinklers!

    • Corey

      Better yet – see if you can get the fire hydrant opened up and invite the neighborhood to come get soaked!

  19. Joan

    Corey, today is my anniversary, and I could not have read a better column. Thank you for the kind, wise words. We do so much to try & protect ourselves and our kids that we definitely miss some joy in the present by dwelling on possibilities. God Bless & thanks again.

    And… Hi, Tsh! You’re famous. 🙂

  20. Jan

    “I am not saying that planning ahead or being prepared is a bad thing to do. But obsessing about the planning is unhealthy.”

    I have some family members who are all about preparing for an economic meltdown and have been great at instilling fear in me because I don’t stockpile or have tons of gold in my portfolio. I found the fear paralyzing and couldn’t even begin to think about how to be prepared for something like this. I can’t even go there even in terms of trying to figure out how many gallons of water my family needs because the fear it immediately instills is unhealthy. Then I have to ask is it even Biblical to plan for something like that? I still don’t know. So, I have no bottled water in my home and could maybe feed my family for a week if something unthinkable were to happen. There is a battle with worry and fear. Eph 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

  21. Anne

    Borrowed this for my status-lovely

  22. Tara@riceandbeanslife

    I love that saying and I hadn’t thought of it in such a long time. Thank you for a wonderful post and a great reminder today. I tend to borrow trouble when I worry about where we want to go in the future as a family and that we aren’t there yet. It steals my “now” on occasion. What gets me through is prayer and reminding myself “More of You, God. Less of me.”

  23. Honey

    Don’t borrow trouble. Great advice. Thank you.

  24. sapir

    “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – amazing! so true!

  25. Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds

    This is an amazing post, and I thank you for sharing. I didn’t realize just how many times the command not to worry or fear is mentioned in the Bible. God is obviously VERY serious about us NOT worrying. I’m a terrible worrier, even though in my heart I know that worry does nothing but rob me of my current moment joy. Thanks for a great reminder.

  26. Simple Life Journey

    I have learned that worry is directly related to my trust in God. The less I trust Him, the more I worry.

  27. Andrew Walker

    Hi there.
    Thanks for sharing this. It’s a very interesting article you’ve shared. Very motivating and nice.

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