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Are You Worried?
Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a variety of newspapers. Here's today's:

Are you worried? You should be. According to the latest research, you should be worried about approximately 692,398 things, including worrying about columnists spouting false statistics.

First there’s H1N1, though I much prefer calling it swine flu. Swine flu makes me think of germs and sneezing. H1N1 makes me think of a science fiction mutant virus. Much scarier.

Recently I was also rendered paranoid by several episodes of the highly entertaining British show How Clean is Your House, where they analyze all the bacteria that is lurking throughout your abode and conclude that you are within a few hours of certain death. Families who are supposed to have bacteria counts of 50 have counts of 19,376. It’s great fun to laugh at people who live like pigs, but it’s made me a tad neurotic. I’ve taken to carrying hand sanitizer in my purse. I’m teaching the kids to sanitize the doorknobs, light switches, and bathroom handles. And I was once a big believer in “eating a little dirt never hurt anyone”. What is happening to me?

Then there’s pop. I forsook Pepsi a few years ago because I was worried about all that extra sugar. One hits 30, and one’s metabolism slows. At 35 it begins to sputter. I’m almost hitting the age when it begins crawling backwards. So I did the thing that weight loss programs recommended—I switched to Diet Pepsi! None of that fruit juice or pop for me. The only problem is that I have now learned that Diet Pepsi leads to osteoperosis, and my doctor cousin tells me they think it’s linked to brain diseases, too. I’m destined to be an old person who laments about being Sudoku-challenged while I’m holed up in bed with broken bones. But at least I’ll have my caffeine.

Of course it’s also imperative that we worry about all the toxins in our environment. We must buy filters on everything to give us clean air and clean water. We must banish smokers at least a kilometer and a half away from any living thing. And while we’re at it, we should really get rid of all preservatives and additives in our food, too.

Apparently global warming should also worry us to death, so much so that our media betters believe we should stop most industry and all that infernal driving. And since we know India and China aren’t going to stop anything, it’s time to admit we’re doomed. Even if it is getting colder.

Whenever you watch the news there’s something more to worry about. Last week many millions of us were glued to our televisions sets worried about a little 6-year-old boy floating around Colorado. He had apparently crawled into the basket of this huge inflatable balloon that his father just happened to keep in his backyard, become untethered, and floated off who-knows-where. As helicopters recorded and news vans rushed to the scene, the balloon crashed with nary a child in sight. Then, a few hours later, out pops the little tyke, safe and sound. While we were, of course, relieved that he had not met an untimely demise, I’m sure many viewers also felt a little ripped off. We were waiting for a tragedy, and it all came to nothing.

It’s a good metaphor for what’s happening in our society. As much as we worry, we actually live longer, healthier, more active lives than our ancestors did. We’re less prone to death from disease, infection, or accident than at any other point in human history.

Sure there are tons of things to worry about, if you want to. But if you want my advice, I’d turn off the news and go eat some chocolate. It can’t hurt, can it?

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At 10:04 AM , Blogger LAURA said…

I had to laugh because someone just sent me a quiz on facebook... "What are your chances of catching the swine flu?"

I'm not one to worry about much. It makes life more enjoyable. :)


At 10:38 AM , Blogger Katy-Anne said…

Hi Sheila

I have been reading "To Love, Honor and Vacuum" and have a question.

I don't want to be a doormat wife, and my husband doesn't want me to be either, but until now I've never figured out how to balance that with submitting to him. I guess I need to make sure that my husband and boys respect me while still being submissive to my husband.

I'll give you a specific example that I can think of right now. I enjoy doing laundry. We hang our clothes on a line because it costs less and I'm happy with that. However, when it comes time to do the laundry, my husband has clothes strewn all over the house, wherever he last took them off. For example, his shoes will be in the living room because he takes them off not long after walking through the door. Then his shirt might find it's way off late at night in his office when he's alone. And when he comes to bed, he'll take his pants off to put his pj's on. So he might have a whole collection of shirts on the office floor, and a whole heap of pants on the bedroom floor, etc.

I've asked him many, many times if he could put his clothes in one central location. Right now I'm not even worried if it's not the hamper. But he just won't. He always just says "sorry" flippantly when I bring it up.

My question is, would he respect me more if I just didn't wash any of the laundry that he didn't put in the right spot? And maybe when he asked where his clean pants were I could tell him why he didn't have any? Or am I on totally the wrong track? It annoys me very much to have laundry laying around all over the house, and I'm worried my boys will copy it and I'll never be able to keep up.

If that isn't how you'd try to get respect, how WOULD you try to get respect in that situation while still doing right by your husband?


At 10:53 AM , Blogger Cassie said…

that's a good question above - can't wait for the response -- I'd definitely not wash it if he can't get it in the hamper --- but that "submissive" thing is hard for me too!

I might be the only person in America NOT worried about the swine flu. Or any of those things. I actually don't worry too much --- hubby will be out of a job in 3 weeks and I'm not even worried.
I know the Bible tells us to be "anxious about nothing" but ---- is it possible to take that to an extreme? I think it's a little weird to not be worried about things....


At 10:53 AM , Blogger Cassie said…



At 11:19 AM , Blogger momishome2 said…

Love this article! This is one of my bigger issues. It always has been. I can blame my mother by saying it's hereditary and justify it by saying it's my spiritual gift, right? (I know, not really!) Thanks for making light of a heavy topic and putting life into perspective. I've written several articles about this myself, but it's more like preaching to the choir.
~Bethany L.

P.S. - I never wash clothes that are not in hampers. But, I'm learning to bite my tongue when it comes to money issues.


At 11:22 AM , Blogger Jeralynne said…

Cassie - I'm with you, I don't really worry about anything. And, no, I don't think it's weird - I think it's a beautiful gift from God. After all, "who by worrying can add a single day to his life?" Science shows us that worrying is actually taking days off of our lives. So, don't worry about not worrying. ;) I don't!


At 12:46 PM , Anonymous Timmy said…

I wasn't worried...but because of your blog, I have my family packing our belongings as we will be moving to some remote mountain location to wait for the coming destruction of all that we know and love.

Thanks for the heads up.

P.S. This is my last "comment". I'm not sure if the mountain will have internet.

Continued Blessings,


At 2:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I use to not worry about anything. Then so many people told me how irresponsible that was, so now I feel it's my responsibility to worry about everything. Even last night I was talking to hubby about weird worries I have. I really hate having them, and continue to give them to the Lord. I want to be responsible, but get back to my non-worried state like I was when I was younger. Maybe it was an age thing back then, who knows. Thanks for the encouragement. :)



At 5:38 PM , Blogger LAURA said…

Katy-Anne... I don't have any great wisdom to share. But I do have something I heard that someone else did when they had the same problem. They found a way to make putting the laundry in it's place fun. I guess they put a basketball hoop above the laundry basket so the husband could "shoot hoops" with his dirty laundry. :)

About worry... I recently heard a great message by Beth Moore. She says she just thinks of the IF in WHAT IF as an acronym for I Fear.

A lot of our worries come out in "what if" statements... just another way of voicing our fears.


At 7:14 PM , Blogger Megan said…

Hmmm...I'm worried about people not taking the swine flu seriously enough, thanks to the media raging on about it for so very long. I've already had it myself, but getting Tamiflu right away kept it from becoming serious. :)

Honestly, I don't worry very much. Life goes on, you know?


At 3:56 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Glad to see you're not all worriers! I'm not really, either. It's good to take common precautions, but honestly, what good is worrying going to do?

Katy-Anne, I'm actually doing a women's conference right now, and I just surveyed a bunch of women and got some good thoughts, so here you go.

My gut would be to say, don't wash it if he won't put it in the laundry, but the problem is that for some men, they honestly won't care. So here's the basic problem: you care about it and he doesn't, and if you were to just simply wait for him to care about it, you may be waiting a really long time.

So what do you do? One woman just suggested something: she is a neater freak, and she has said to her husband, "I need two things. I need you to hang your towel up, and I need you to put your dirty clothes in the hamper." And he's doing it. He's not doing much else, but he is doing that, and it's been a relief.

So ask yourself: what is it that you need? Can you narrow it down to one or two things that would really make you feel better, just one or two things he could do? Maybe those would be giving the kids a bath at night, or putting the clothes in the hamper? Or maybe it would be you put the groceries away and you clean up the bathroom after you use it.

Then make those the issues with him, and tell him that that is what you would really like to feel better. Don't make it a whole bunch of things; make it one or two things that he can do.

The question really is why the clothes are an issue for you. For instance, my husband doesn't put his clothes in the hamper, but neither do I. We throw them near the door, and every morning I scoop them up and stick them in the hampers, dividing by whites and colours. I don't make Keith do it because I don't really do it either when I take my clothes off at night.

But if you see this is an issue of disprespect, because you feel like you're doing everything and him nothing, then this is likely just the issue that you're latching on to. So talk to him, and tell him that these one or two small things would make you feel better. And then you just might find that it's easier for him to help you than if he has to "work harder" or "do more around the house", which is a little more vague. Does that make sense?


At 7:55 PM , Blogger Katy-Anne said…

Sheila, if he would put them in a pile, I could deal with that. What he does is leave them laying around all over the house.

And yes, he'd care when he runs out of pants.


At 3:04 PM , Anonymous Melissa said…

In regards to worry this is my favorite phrase:

If you're praying why worry, if you're worrying why pray.

Always puts my attitude back in check. :)

As to the gal with husband who won't pick up his clothes...
My dear friend told me this when I was having same problem. She said, "Be thankful you have his clothes to pick up. There are wives whose husbands have passed away, there are wives whose husbands are deployed or work away from home for days/weeks at a time. These women would love to be able to pick up their husbands clothes again. She went onto say each time you pick up an article of clothing thank God for your husband and pray blessings over him.

It's all about changing your perspective on the "chore". You may not be able to change him but you can certainly change you. For me personally this changed things in a major way. I suddenly didn't feel upset but rather thankful for my husband's clothes. With time I noticed his clothes started to "magically" appear in the hamper. I don't know if he noticed and changed or God changed him but I rarely pick up his clothes anymore. :)

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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