And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? -Matthew 6:27
It might seem strange to start a travel post with a verse about worry, but that’s where I was at. On my first trip to London I fought anxiety constantly. I worried about missing our trains, getting on the right train, finding our way around the city, arriving on time to everything ( I had a PLAN, darn it), standing in really long lines, where we were going to eat, what time we should get up, catching all the right flights, and on and on.
It all started when the airline changed our connecting flight, leaving us a tight forty-five minutes between flights. For weeks before the trip I fretted about making our flight connection.
We arrived early, with time to spare.
Once we landed in London I immediately became concerned with catching the right bus and finding our hotel.
What were we going to do with our luggage?
The concierge let us leave it behind the desk.
Now was the really hard part- using the Underground. I devoted a lot of time and preparation researching all the train lines and connections, but it seemed way more intimidating now. How in the world were we going to get to the right stop?
By asking the cute guy standing next to us.
Do you see my problem? I was spending my dream vacation worrying about every detail I couldn’t control. In spite of the fact that everything flowed smoothly and we encountered no problems, I continued to fight for control.
My most cringe-worthy moment came toward the end of the week. My cousin, Elisabeth, and I were booked for a crazy tour that included Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Oxford (I do not recommend that). We went to see Cats the night before the tour and got back to the hotel very late.
In spite of that I insisted we get up at 5:00 the next morning to make triple-sure we didn’t miss our pick-up. Oh, it was so late and I made us get up soooo early, just to eliminate all possible travel problems.
Yeah. Once again, there were no travel problems and we ended up spending at least an hour just sitting by the Thames, killing time until our scheduled rendezvous.
If I had been Elisabeth, I would have killed me instead. But my saintly cousin didn’t say a word about my rabid determination to not be late. She never complained about rising before dawn just to sit by a river in the cold. To my dismay, our pick-up merely drove us to Victoria Station. If I had known, a simple, and much later, train ride would have brought us to the same spot.
Every, single aspect of the trip went smoothly. Well, except for Elisabeth falling off the sidewalk and bloodying her knees because she was looking at her phone. But that only happened one time. And we did get seriously turned around because of my terrible sense of direction. When we asked a policeman for directions he laughed at us.
The rest of it was great.
Standing on top of the London Eye, watching the sunset, I was so glad we were there. All the worries faded away in the glow of a perfect moment.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. –Matthew 6:34
I wish I applied that verse better to my trip, both before and during. After I came back and was reflecting on my experiences I began to see how much time I wasted worrying. I realized that my worry didn’t add, enhance, or help. It only took.
It took my excitement, my pleasure, and my ability to enjoy the moment I was in. It robbed me of time and perspective.
Debunking the Myth:
How often do we treat our single lives the same way? Remember the myth- “A life without love is no life at all?”
Do you spend time worrying that your single life is no life at all?
I do. I don’t fight anxiety just when I travel. I deal with it on a daily basis- fearful of all the aspects of life I can’t control. Since being single is completely out of my control, I worry:
What do other people think of me?
Where am I going to live?
Should I save more money?
Who am I going to talk to at the party?
Am I missing all the best parts of life?
While it may seem natural to be concerned about those things, it’s still a problem. The Bible commands me not to worry because when I do, I stop trusting in God and start focusing on myself. Worry means I’m only thinking of me.
I stop seeing the good things around me. On my trip, every moment I spent in my head, trying to work through a potential problem, was an experience I was missing. I was blinded to the beauty and wonder of travel.
Friend, don’t let worries over your singleness steal your joy! Don’t let it cloud your viewpoint.
A life without romantic love is still a life that’s filled with meaning, purpose, laughter, and wonderful moments. But in order to recognize that I have to learn to rein my thoughts in and not buy into the myth. I have to challenge every lie with truth and get the focus off myself. With God’s help I can move forward through my days with confidence, trusting in Him to lead one step at a time.
And when you close your mind to worry and open your eyes to the beauty of the moment, you’ll find more blessings that concerns.
This week, I’m thankful for the blessing of plans that fall into place, whether or not they had any help from us. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!