I do a lot of selfish things. I talk too much and interrupt people. I throw adult-style, sophisticated temper tantrums when things don’t go my way. I spent way too much time and money caring for myself, my reputation and my stuff. I’ve known this for a long time.
But recently, I realized that there’s another way selfishness manifests itself in my life. Every day. Sometimes every hour.
I worry about myself. I worry about other people. I worry about the weather, about the future, about the past. And what is at the root of almost all of these worries? Me.
Why do I worry about my future? Because I don’t want to experience suffering. I try to figure out a way around hardship, because I don’t like it when life is difficult or sad or confusing. I want an easy, happy life.
Sometimes, worry masquerades as concern for others. But it’s mostly about me. I worry about my husband, because I want him to be perfect so I don’t have to struggle in our marriage. I worry about my children, because I don’t want to experience the pain of their bad choices. I worry about my friend with cancer, because I will be sad if she dies. I worry about the weather, but only when it is going to interfere with my plans. I worry about world events that might someday impact me and my family.
Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.
Seeing the depth of selfishness associated with my worrying helps me to see why the Bible tells us not to worry. Over and over again: do not fear, do not be anxious about anything, do not worry about tomorrow.
The Lord knows that when we are worrying, we are focused on ourselves. He wants us to be focused on Him, trusting Him, accepting what He gives with a peaceful heart. He knows that what we need more than a happy, easy life is a quiet heart that is resting in Him.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.