A Mathis Moment
“Worry Never Done Nothing!”
By John Mathis Jr.
I’ve gone through many seasons in my life and moments of enlightenment. One of those moments or seasons in the past few years has been a horse pill to swallow: at times, I worry. Yes, I have choked on the concept and confession that, at times, I do worry. Not in the conventional sense of sitting around and wringing my hands, wondering “what will become of me” – that would have been easy to see a long time ago.
You see, I’m a “get-it- done” kind of person, as well as a “fixer.” When there are deadlines to meet, or circumstances beyond my control, or any stressful situation, my mind goes into high gear with plans or thoughts or schemes of how I can get something worked out, resolved, taken care of, etc. I constantly mull it over in my mind under the guise of “being concerned,” or “trying to think of a solution,” or “coming up with an answer.”
I will zone out, I will lay awake for countless hours, I will get carried away in all the rabbit trails of where a certain situation will lead. Then my final way of dealing with certain things was to just completely ignore them and do nothing.
Basically, the equivalent of covering my ears, closing my eyes and singing “la, la, la, la, la.”
Those who have lived with me or worked closely with me have often said “you seem stressed” or “you seem worried about something,” to which I’d get defensive at the mere implication!
I have NEVER considered myself a person who is prone to worry. However, I had a few basic questions at these various stressful times in my life, questions that were going unanswered and even left me perplexed: “Why do I not have peace and joy?” “Why do I not feel free?”
Then I began reading scriptures regarding worry and being anxious. One particular scripture that I’ve read, and heard more times than I can count, suddenly hit me: Matthew 6:27: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Being a songwriter, the first revelation (a fodder for a ‘hook’) came to me, “WORRY NEVER DONE NOTHING FOR ME!”
All of the lost sleep, deep thought, concern, constant mulling over ideas and solutions never, ever….let me emphasize that….”NEVER, EVER!” changed one single thing about my circumstance.
I began to reflect back upon my life and remember how God worked ALL things out, good or bad. His answer in His timing was always far better than my countless hours of concern, anxiety and worry. He had better solutions than my mind ever could conceive during those times.
It then dawned on me that I don’t have a worrying problem, I have a “trust” issue!
My wife Angie and I have discussed this countless times. We talk and laugh and wish that God would have followed all of his statements of “do not worry,” and, “do not be anxious for anying,” with Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
And it didn’t dawn on me before that the times where he called out his disciples, or anyone else, saying “O, you of little faith,” or “why did you doubt,” could apply to me as well. That was for someone else, not me.
I’m a person of faith, or so I thought.
In all of our discussions, my wife and I searched for a way to come up with a test to relate this lack of trust to our desire (or need) to worry and we found one.
We both have children and our children are what we value the most in our lives.
One day I randomly asked her to think of 4 or 5 people she would have babysit her 6 year old, Andrew, for an extended period of time. She named four, then I asked her how she decided who was first on the list and who was last. She replied, “Because I trust that person the most who I named first.” Ah, more light bulbs went off!
Whatever we value the most, whether it is our children, our relationships, our health, our bank account, our jobs; TRUST is the number one qualifier as to whether we would place it in someone else’s care. And our problems, circumstances and situations do become our children. They are our babies! We want to babysit them, nurture them, guide
them and direct them to our desired outcome.
Therefore, I came to the ugly conclusion that I trust myself to handle all of my problems more than anyone, icluding God!
In essence, when I worry, I’m telling the most loving, capable, wonderful Father that has ever existed that I do not trust Him to babysit my babies.
It’s humorous to me that many times
in my life I have discounted the Creator of the oceans, mountains, rivers, stars, the universe and even my own living breathing existence as not being capable of working out any and all circumstances. I might as well have knelt down, folded my hands and bowed my head in serious reverence and prayed, “God, I know you’ve got a flawless track record but I just don’t trust You.”
Of course a song was born from all of this. Angie and I sat down with the guitar at the National Quartet Convention in 2010 and penned thes words with a little bluesy melody, fitting for a song about worry: “Worry Never Done Nothing:”
“Never brought me joy, or one minute’s peace
Never laid my head to rest and gave me a good night’s sleep
Never put no money, in my bank account
Never picked me up when I was feeling down
Worry never moved a mountain
Worry never set me free
So I just trust and know, that God’s in control, cause
Worry never done nothing for me.
I’ve seen the sparrows, and the flowers in the field
They don’t get concerned, bout how they’re gonna pay their bills
No thought for tomorrow, come rain or shine
They’re just living on the promise that God will provide.
Angie Summar Mathis, John Mathis Jr
Avid Group Publishing/BMI, Eaglestreet Press/BMI ©2010
Yes, worry has never done one thing positive or good for me. In fact, it has robbed me of peace and joy and has opened the door for doubt, fear, anxiety, anger and a host of other negatives in my mind, spirit and body.
However, my new awareness and commitment is not to “stop worrying,” for that is like telling someone “don’t blink;” but it has resolved me to raise my level of TRUST. If you raise your level of trust, you will lower your level of worry, for those two things cannot exist in the same mind.
This passage from Phillipians 3, verses 6 and 7, has been a key for me: “(6) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” AND, a conjunction of condition, the “peace of God” will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
IF you will TRUST God and take EVERYTHING to Him. Ah, that’s where my peace and joy was at during all those times I questioned myself and wondered why I did not have peace or joy or why I was so unsettled. It’s not our level of worry that needs addressing during those moments of stress in our lives, it is our level of trust in our Father!
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” – Corrie Ten Boom
John Mathis Jr.