- to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent,or the like;
- to cause corrosion; gnaw into something.
We all do it and some of us do more of it than others of us. Interesting, isn’t it, that fretting has such a potently negative impact on “something,” including the someone who is doing it. So, it’s a corrosive emotion, it’s energy that consumes. While we may defend ourselves by offering that we fret because we care or we are annoyed because something matters to us, by definition worry is not a life-giving experience.
And yet we all do it. Yes, we fret about the future for our children’s and grandchildren’s sakes. Fear eats at the edges of the fabric of our souls in an increasingly violent world. Discontent sits with us at the breakfast table and remains with us through the evening news because we are troubled by what we see and hear. Decay of social values, decline in traditional institutions, deterioration within leadership prompts us to be perturbed. Concern is one thing, anxiety is another.
“The life built around answers is a life propelled by anxiety,” writes James McTyre, pastor of Lake Hills Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Either we live in disappointment when yesterday’s answers are rendered obsolete, or we live on guard, protecting today’s answers from tomorrow’s destruction.” (Feasting on the Word, Year C, Volume 3, p. 36) McTyre’s comments give rise to the questions: On what do we focus our energy? In whom do we trust?
Is it too simple or flimsy for us to trust in the One who said, “Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? Stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:27, 34) Yes, that’s Jesus speaking. Are we listening or is the gnawing of our fretting drowning him out?