There’s a cliché you may have heard that tells us we should “meet trouble halfway.” Not sure about you, but I don’t want to meet trouble at all. Not halfway, not one quarter way, not any way. I would rather it remain a perfect stranger. But whether we are heading toward it, or it’s coming toward us, trouble is a part of life.
So what clichés do we want to cling to when dealing with life’s troubles? There is a great one my great-grandmother would say to me when I showed up on her doorstep carrying a big bunch of concern. It was usually about things that may or may not happen in the future, and things that I had absolutely no control over anyway. She would listen to my ranting, angst, and frustration, and then calmly reply, “Darlene, don’t borrow trouble.”
I didn’t think I was borrowing anything. I was just looking at all of the possibilities that could lie ahead. I thought that being prepared was a reasonable plan until I got old enough to understand that most of the things that vexed me never happened at all.
What’s even more telling is that I can’t remember the large majority of what created those fretful days and sleepless nights. So “don’t borrow trouble” is a wonderful cliché to cling to. This wisdom became glaringly clear when I read it this way years later, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring it’s own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34, NLT).
Or have your heard this one: “trouble shared is trouble halved?” So you got some trouble, do this – share it! This is not with the intention to make another human miserable. At least that shouldn’t be your goal. But share it with friends or family members who you trust and who can help carry the load.
It may be as simple as having someone who provides a listening ear, giving you the opportunity to verbalize. This helps you see the real size of your problem, which is often much smaller than you have created in your vast imagination. There are others who will share the problem with you and help tackle the challenge; they will partner with you in a real way in order to get to the other side. Whatever that trouble is, it gets lighter and easier to manage when it’s shared.
As women who care about our faith, it’s even more important that we share our troubles with one another. It’s what we are supposed to do. “This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26). We are stronger when we walk together, no matter what life tosses our way.
Whatever that trouble is, it gets lighter and easier to manage when it’s shared.
Then there’s the “more trouble than it’s worth” cliché. I’ve said that a million and twelve times I’m sure. This statement has been directed toward everything from a pickle jar I can’t open, to a human I walked alongside who keeps stepping back into the same life swamp they’ve already been dragged out of. Although I do believe humans, even the messy ones, are well worth the trouble. Yet there are times it’s one of those phrases that rolls off of the tongue in moments of frustration.
However, there are times when it does not matter what you do, things just don’t change. You know your purpose in life, you have a task at hand that you are trying to accomplish, and yet, what’s being stirred up around you is creating nothing but a distracting boatload of trouble. Maybe the job you’re in is going nowhere or the friend you’re trying to help just keeps going back to the same mess.
The time you’re investing in attempting to fix what seems unfixable can become not worth the trouble. You’re not moving forward and definitely not accomplishing what you set out to do. It’s time to move on. Also, there may be someone else who is supposed to step in for that specific need. If you don’t move on, they won’t have the opportunity.
You know your purpose in life, you have a task at hand that you are trying to accomplish…
Jesus gave the disciples an assignment: spread the Gospel. He also recognized that there would be some folks that just wouldn’t hear it or receive it, and there is nothing that any one of those disciples could do or say to change that. After giving them their appropriate task, He added these instructions, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14, NKJV).
Essentially what He was saying is to move on. There are a lot of folks out there who are ready to listen, but for those who aren’t–it’s not worth the trouble until they change their mind. This is not discounting His love for them or the disciples’ desire to share their newfound faith with all. This act was to make sure those who were ready to hear had the opportunity.
One final trouble cliché that I just have to share is: never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you. Now try to say that 5 times really fast! Simply this–just don’t go out looking for trouble. Better yet, do your best not to create it either! Don’t pretend that you don’t do this at times; we are all capable of that one.
Trouble will find us, because we are just living this life. So, remember these clichés to live by, and when it comes to trouble: don’t borrow it, do share it, and only get in the middle of it if it’s worth the effort.
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