17th February, 2005 - Article Copyrighted Debbie Porter
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."
~ Philippians 4:6 NLT ~
It was just a suggestion ... and not even a particularly big one at that. After all, we were only talking about getting a new e-mail address, not re-writing the Constitution.
When Matt first made his way to Hotmail and created his e-mail address, he chose something that was fun and reflected his interests at that time. Of course, what's perfect for a 12-year-old isn't necessarily perfect for a 17-year-old -- which was exactly the case for Matthew.
The topic had come up that morning while I was opening e-mail from people applying for an Apprenticeship with our Company. As Matt was chatting to me in the office at the time, I took the opportunity to explain the importance of always presenting yourself in a professional light when applying for a job.
"See this one?" I asked, pointing to the open e-mail on my screen. "This girl may be very nice and very capable, but look how she wrote, 'Hi, it's Katie' in the subject line. I guess she meant it to be friendly, but I was thinking, 'Katie who?' It's not good to be that chummy in a job application. First impressions count a lot."
Then, adding another piece of employer type wisdom, I said, "It's on a par with having an e-mail address like... say, 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. It looks unprofessional. That's why Kylie just uses her name."
Matt wasn't totally convinced that my attitude was right about Katie's friendly subject line, but he did see the point about the e-mail address and admitted that he had been thinking about changing his.
Faster than you could say "fluffy bunny", I had zipped over to Hotmail and was ready to set Matt up with a new account.
Just as quickly, Matthew started making excuses. How would he get his regular newsletters? What if he missed something? What if the points he was collecting on some of his favorite sites were cancelled because he had a different address? What if ...
Even after explaining that he could keep his other account open (which, by the way, was not email@example.com) for the time being and just make the changes gradually, he wasn't convinced. The "what ifs" kept coming.
Finally, I shook my head and said, "Matt, you worry too much."
My son's eyebrows raised in surprise. "Mum! Don't say that!"
Before I had a chance to wonder why, he continued.
"That was too weird ... like, I'm the one who should be saying that to you. That's what teenagers tell their parents, not the other way around."
Then, with that momentary flash of role reversal still fresh in both our minds, we went ahead and set up his new e-mail account.
As I did, I couldn't help but realize that both my children have definitely taken after me in at least one way. They share a trait that I had long recognized in Kylie, but hadn't seen quite so obviously in Matt before the great e-mail incident. It's that need to make sure that all bases are covered before proceeding on, and to think through all the possible risks associated with any new venture.
When used in the right way, this can be a real blessing. However, the downside is that it can, if allowed to run out of control, lead to action freezing worry. Getting the balance right is the challenge.
God created the three of us (and you of course) exactly the way we are. He put that need within Kylie, Matthew and me to always consider the consequences of any possible change or new direction. He intended it to be one of our strengths and as something that would complement the visionaries we meet throughout life.
However, He didn't intend for it to become one of our weaknesses -- and when it turns to worry, it is a weakness.
So if you find yourself worrying about the minutiae of life, including e-mail addresses, remember to cast ALL your cares upon Him -- for He truly does care for you! (See 1 Peter 5:7)
Something to Think About ...
It would be interesting to carry some sort of tally pad around with us for a month or so and make a note of how many hours of that time we have spent worrying. Then, for the same time period, it would be very telling to also make note of how much time we'd spent in prayer about those same concerns.
For many I have a feeling that there may be a huge gap between the two.
It's amazing when you think that so many of us can easily fall into the trap of spending hours upon hours worrying about our circumstances -- both real and imagined -- without ever stopping to lift those same concerns to the Lord.
From now on, let's use that first awareness of being worried, to spur us into action. The minute that anxiety lands in our thoughts, let's take it captive and lift it immediately to the Lord.
What's that old saying? "A worry shared is a worry halved?" Well, when we give it to God, it's a worry removed.
Father God ...
When the trials of this world seem overwhelming;
When the burdens of each day are hard to bear,
May we always look to You to find our answers
For in You we find a loving God who cares.