This image came across social media today. It hit a chord with me, so I shared it as well. Even more than the quote, though, what struck me was the responses it received. Multiple people shared that they needed this encouragement, that they ought to make this their mantra.
Worry holds us all hostage at times. Worry plagues us with potentials fit only for horror films. Worry handcuffs us to the worst of all possible outcomes even though those tragedies will likely never see the light of day. Worry's not productive, except that it produces more of itself. Worry just inspires more worry. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy of despair.
So why do we give in to it so often? Our overactive imaginations can serve such greater purposes than worry. The church needs our imaginations. The world needs our imaginations. Our neighbors need our imaginations. Jesus tells us not to worry, for today's responsibilities need our attention.
Think about it this way. We're so often dumbfounded by the needs that face the world and seem to have no idea how to creatively engage the problems in ways that might be productive. Solutions seem to escape us at every turn. Yet, somehow we imagine unfathomably improbable ways that our lives might fall apart. Our imaginations, that creative part of us that might serve to solve the problems that face our world, instead dwells on ways that things fall apart.
I recently watched the movie Tomorrowland. While the film wasn't a universal success (50% from critics and audiences alike on Rotten Tomatoes), the premise kept me enthralled throughout. If the best of us, the dreamers from every walk of life, focus on the good, then our future is not just bright, it's fantastic. However, if we presume death and destruction, then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that doesn't just occupy our minds,but our vocations, our creativity, our innovation, everything that should produce good instead spirals toward death.
In other words, worry is a misuse of imagination. In Christian parlance, if we're focused on hell rather than heaven, if we're bent upon destruction rather than God's coming kingdom, then we've not only missed the point, but we've also distorted our God-given creative gifts and turned them toward death rather than life. Of course, we can't help our reactions to bad news, but we can direct our time, energy, and focus. Do we focus on the worry, or the solution, to the problem that we're facing?
Be creative, friends. Be imaginative. Don't let worry cloud your hope, but instead, give yourself permission to innovate toward life. That sounds a lot like resurrection to me.
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.