3 ways to plan more, worry less

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

“Do not worry about tomorrow.” I can’t tell you how much this phrase rattles me. It seems that all I do is worry about tomorrow.

Worrying is what I do to cope when I feel out of control, and I don’t trust God to be faithful. Worry is frantic energy that showcases my desire to control all my circumstances and freak out when I can’t.  Worry robs me of enjoying today because I’m fixated on tomorrow.

We’re not wired for worry.

God didn’t design us to worry. It’s not in our wiring. Worry isn’t part of our DNA or personality.

Worry is not the same as using our God-given gifts for strategy and planning. When we plan rather than worry, we choose to partner with God because we recognize that God wants to work through us. He wants to steward the gifts, talents, experiences, and opportunities we have. He wants us to use our minds actively. He wants us to be faithful with what he’s given us.

Here are three ways to plan more and worry less:

Planning is doing what you can.

Worry is stressing about what you can’t do. Scripture often speaks of the importance of sowing seed and planning for a harvest. An example for me as a consultant is that I can help an organization build a fantastic plan, but I can’t force them to implement it.  I can influence the outcome by being faithful to equip, train and encourage, but I can’t control the outcome.

Planning is working with what is.

Worry is being paranoid about the what ifs. Planning is building steps to reach the desired outcome. When I worry I’m not taking any steps, but instead I’m ruminating over a myriad of outcomes (which are usually not good).

There’s a parable in the Bible where an employer entrusts three of his workers with different amounts of money. The first two developed a plan and doubled the employer’s money. The third guy did nothing to invest the money; instead, he dug a hole in the ground and hid the money. When asked why, he said, “I was afraid.” What was he doing? He was worrying. He was afraid, so he didn’t do what he could.

Planning is proactive progress.

Worry is engaging in the hamster wheel of anxious thoughts without getting anywhere productive. Even if our plans don’t turn out exactly the way we hoped, we can learn from the experience and be better prepared for the future. Worry, on the other hand, drains our energy with no positive return.