Of Fretting and Faith


Photo credit: morgueFile.com

This is one of my newspaper columns from a few years back..

The importance of refraining from fretting was called to my attention in an essay by Carolyn Arends in Christianity Today (p. 56, Feb. 2010) Frankly, I hadn’t thought much about fretting being something a person of faith should address as being a negative factor, as being sinful.

I’ll confess I’ve done my share of fretting. Even this day has been far from fret-free. I’ve asked myself what’s the difference between acceptable frustration and when does it move into fretting? Jesus, after all, was frustrated at times, with His disciples and others. But I don’t see Him fretting.

It seems to me that fretting is prolonged frustration, frustration to which we fail to apply faith. When we feel things are out of our control – that we are at the mercy of someone else or the victim of a set of circumstances – we fret.

I know, fretting actually feels good in a perverse sort of way. That’s the problem, it’s a perverse pleasure and does us no good, but harm. Fretting causes us all kinds of problems, including making us envious and jealous of others who don’t have our high standards and yet seem to get ahead.

I looked up the word “fret” and found that it’s from the Old English word “fretan” which means to devour! Fretting eats away at us! It’s a cancer of the heart, an acid of the soul!

Sometimes we feel powerless to influence or change people or circumstances. It’s easy to fret about it. Instead, we should be focusing on putting our trust in God, that He’s still in ultimate control. I’m convinced a faith-filled day can lead to a fret-free day! You too?

King David states three times in his Psalm that we’ve numbered 37 in our Bibles, “Do not fret…”


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