Did Bobby McFerrin Have It Right?
by Steph Beth Nickel
Whether it’s cancer, COVID, or corruption, it seems everywhere we look there is something threatening to steal our peace.
And in the writer’s world there are contacts, conferences, and contracts to consider as well. While these may be exciting, they can still cause stress.
So, what are we to do?
Should we simply do our best to follow Bobby McFerrin’s advice: Don’t worry; be happy. (Yes, Bob Marley sang it, but Bobby McFerrin wrote the lyrics.)
We can only ignore what’s going on around us for so long. Plus, in the long term, this is 1) virtually impossible and 2) extremely irresponsible.
We are called to fulfill our commitments. Granted, some of us (read “most of us”) take on too much—at least at times. But even if we’ve learned to say, “No, I’m unable to add that to my schedule,” it’s probably because our plate is already full to overflowing.
And would we really be at peace, worry-free, if we could sing and dance our way through life without any thought to the heartaches going on all around us?
Sure, we need to take regular breaks to clear our mind and refresh our body. But the real happiness, the real peace, comes from obeying God’s commands in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (ESV).
If we try to obey the first part of this verse in our own strength, we’ll soon throw up our hands in defeat. It isn’t as easy as choosing happiness instead of worry.
However, as He always does, God shows us how we can set aside our anxiety. Pray and give thanks.
That sounds easy enough, but we all know it’s not “one and done.”
I have a tendency to obsess over (read “worry about”) things I can’t change until God reminds me AGAIN of Philippians 4:6.
So, what are you laser focussed on with regard to your writing right now? Is it stressing you out? Is that stress quickly turning into full-fledged worry? Is it immobilizing you, which adds to your stress levels?
Be encouraged. God cares about you. He can—and will—work out all the details.
Take your concerns and requests to Him. Focus on all the things you have to be thankful for. “Rinse and repeat” as necessary. If you’re anything like me that will be often.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Steph Beth Nickel is an editor, writer, and birth doula. If you would like more information about her services, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org;
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or visit her website-in-progress: nurtureandinspire.com.
Yes, Stephanie, pretending there’s nothing to be anxious about doesn’t help much! Telling Jesus what’s troubling us and reminding ourselves He’s big enough to handle it is far more effective, even if sometimes it takes us a lot of time to fully remind ourselves!