Worry & Other Luxuries

 

I depart for Myanmar (Burma) in two weeks and five days. This journey has been almost two years in the making. While there, I will participate in doctoral seminars on Incarnational Theology and Nonviolent Peacemaking. Not only will I take these classes, but I will also witness a theological school graduation, see sacred Buddhist sites, attend church services, visit a busy health clinic, shop the bustling Scott Market, as well as travel to the ancient region of Bagan. The itinerary is extensive!

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To prepare for the journey, there is much to do. Class assignments, work deadlines, and family obligations all compete for limited time and attention. I should be furiously working on the many things that must be completed before I travel, but I have a confession to make. While all those things linger at the back of my mind, none of them are causing me any anxiety. Perhaps if I sensed the urgency, I would be drafting a sermon, reading for class, or writing my annual report. Alas, I am not.

Instead, I am scurrying and worrying about really important matters. Seriously, what am I going to wear in that 100* heat and humidity? How can I cover up this weight that I’ve gained and not be sweaty all the darn time? And not to mention, what am I going to eat for 16 days? Should I pack some familiar snacks in my suitcase? Is it my imagination, or are clothing and food inextricably connected in this scenario? These are the big questions that preoccupy my overactive mind.

Reading the Sermon on the Mount this morning, I came across this gem from Jesus.

“Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

Shallow worries from my broken, vulnerable self – that’s what they are.

While I sit here in a comfy office space with the luxury of worrying about stupid stuff, others have heavy burdens, palpable fears, and justifiable anxiety. I’ve been messaging today with a teenage immigrant from Mexico who is afraid that her family who works hard here and contributes to the community will be deported. Her worry is justified and her fears genuine. For her, the present and future are uncertain. Worrying is not a luxury.

Yes, Lord. Life is indeed more than food and the body more than clothes. Take my selfish worry and transform it into selfless prayer. Use my life to nourish others and my body as your hands and feet. Grant me opportunities to ease the worries of others. May it be so.

 

 

 

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