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The Antidote to Worry

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Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ― Erma Bombeck

Just yesterday, I experienced a bit of worry when I learned that today I would be driving through the aftermath of a large snowstorm in Vancouver. As it happens, I am writing this blog on the flight from Toronto after commiserating with the person beside me about what awaits us on landing. It was not so much the prospect of poor driving conditions as the possibility that some of my meetings might be affected. In other words, I spent a little time in the rocking chair!

A lot of ink has been spilled over the years on the subject of worry. As I reflect on the many reasons why worrying is not a good idea, three in particular stand out:

  1. 1. It is futile. In business parlance, the return on invested time is zero.
  2. 2. Actually, the ROI is negative, since there is an opportunity cost. Time invested in worry is stolen from time that could be invested productively.
  3. 3. If allowed to fester, worry can immobilize us and can result in our not taking action over things we can control.

It seems that there is never a shortage of worry items. On the business front, we can fuss over the economic implications of the recent U.S. election or Brexit. Will either of these events adversely affect my company or my investment portfolio? Canadians have never been more indebted than today. What happens if Canadian interest rates begin to climb from historically low levels? Or, on the personal front, how will my grandchildren cope in this new millennium with its many moral, social and economic challenges?

Worrying is futile.

Logic (and lots of books) tells us that the solution is simple. First, we should take appropriate action to deal with those issues under our control. For example, I recently touched on the subject of hedging specific risks as a strategy for dealing with uncertainty. Second, we should not worry about those things outside our control because, well, they’re outside our control! Pretty straightforward, right? Actually, while intellectually satisfying, this advice is often difficult to follow.

Is there an antidote for worry beyond the power of positive thinking and action, both of which can be elusive? For those who have trusted in Jesus, the answer to this question is a resounding “yes”! The Bible is clear that the real reason we need not worry is that God, who is all powerful and all knowing, cares for us. He watches over us. Regardless of how hopeless our current situation appears, He has a wonderful plan for our lives including spending eternity in His presence. Put differently, the God who loves us beyond our capacity to comprehend “has our back.” In the Bible, He says,

“When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:15-16

For me, the power, character and promises of God are by far the best antidote for worry!

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.