Seminary life has been keeping me extremely busy of late, hence the lack of new blogs! During my many hours driving back and forth in the car, I listened to A.J. Jacobs’ new book, The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment on CD. A couple of things… First of all, I highly recommend it for the humor and interesting tidbits of information. Secondly, every time I read one of Jacobs’ books I end up pondering doing my own life experiment.
One of the experiments Jacobs undertakes is outsourcing both his work life and his personal life to two companies in India. Not only is this a hilarious and interesting concept, but one of his experiences in particular got me thinking. He points out that he’s a worrier and so, during his month of outsourcing, he asks one of his assistants (the people to whom he’s outsourced his life) to worry for him. Yes, she is to worry about parts of his life for him so he doesn’t have to think (or worry!) about them. Brilliant! This made me crack up in the car, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a wonderful idea it was.
Jacobs said that every time he would begin to worry about something, he would simply remind himself that someone in India was already worrying for him and he would calm down. I don’t know about you, but I find it so easy to worry about little things that I know I shouldn’t really be worrying about, so this idea really struck a cord with me.
In the Bible, there are a few passages which address the topic of worrying, including:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you– you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
So my question is this: can we think of these passages as directing us to, in effect, outsource our worry to God? Just as Jacobs’ assistant was worrying for him, God, the creator and sustainer of all things, is caring for each and every one of us. I don’t think God is “worrying” per se, but He is caring for us and, ultimately, acting for our good – for each of us personally and individually, as well as for us collectively as the people of the world.
With so much to do, it would be extremely easy to become bogged down in worry and stress, but I like the idea of thinking about it as Jacobs’ did with his assistant in India: “why should I worry? Someone is already thinking about this for me!” I think that someone is God, loving and merciful, who has urged us to turn our worry and our burdens over to Him.
Hopefully, next time I begin to worry or become anxious, I’ll remember this – that God knows our worries and fears and is always right there to calm and reassure us. That He is leading and guiding us, accompanying us through this crazy life.
© 2009. Annabelle Peake. All rights reserved.
To listen to A.J. Jacobs speak about his experience outsourcing his life for a month, follow this link (some language):
A fun, twangy bluegrass song about worrying: