Monday, August 22, 2022

Dealing with Worry like Little John

Suggested Reading: Luke 21:29-36

There is a great scene in the Kevin Costner movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves where Robin and Azeem are trying to cross a river. They and are challenged by a gang of outlaws led by John Little and required to pay "taxes." Robin agrees to fight John on the condition that, if he wins, he doesn't have to pay. After taking an initial walloping, Robin finally manages to win the fight by taking John's legs out from under him. John, who doesn't know how to swim, is deathly afraid of drowning in the water. He panics and finally yields the fight to Robin who tells him, "Good. Now put your feet down." John does and discovers that in all of his panic and thrashing about, he failed to realize that the water was barely waist deep. John was so scared of the water that he simply couldn't think straight.

I was reminded of that scene when reading the words of Luke 21:34-35, where Jesus warned his listeners about the end times, "Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life or that day will come on you unexpectedly like a trap" (HCSB). Though some translations say "so that your hearts are not weighed down" instead of mind being dulled, they all pair up the equivalents of drunkenness, carousing, and the worries of life. Most of us completely understand the effects of drunkenness and carousing on the mind, but how often do we think about the fact that worry, the little sister of fear, has a similar effect?

When we worry, neither our brains nor our hearts can function at full capacity. We are just like John Little, thrashing, and yelling, and desperate to escape, and unable to realize that if we just put our feet down we would be fine. Worry prevents us from being able to see the world as it truly is. And though worry may not have quite the same debilitating effect as abject panic, both are on the same spectrum of fear and both distort the way we think and the way we see the world.

What have you been worried about?  How has your view of reality been affected by your own sense of worry and doubt? What have you failed to realize because you were so focused on the object of your worry? Stop. Take a deep breath. Put your feet down and stand up.  You might just be able to see reality a little clearer.

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