a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Going the Worry-Free Way

< by Jill >

In the spring of 2004, the Mounds View High School Yearbook launched its annual senior polls, querying the student body to determine which senior merited the title of Most Athletic, Best Sense of Humor, Biggest Perfectionist, etc. The school newspaper, The Viewer, followed suit, putting a silly spin on each category. Most Athletic became Hottest Body, Best Sense of Humor became Class Clown, and Biggest Perfectionist became … Most Anal-Retentive.

Now, just because you won the yearbook poll didn’t mean you’d win the newspaper equivalent. They were mutually exclusive, yielding independent results that only occasionally corroborated. In 2004, only one category yielded the same result:

Biggest Perfectionist/Most Anal-Retentive: Jill Klosterman

In the caption that appears next to my image, there’s a quote that goes something like this: “Once she admitted to ironing her money.”

For a minute, I took pride in these titles. But it quickly opened my eyes to an actual problem. I couldn’t leave my bedroom until I arranged my pillows a certain way. I spent hours removing crooked staples and realigning documents to make the staple parallel with the vertical edge of the page. I ironed my money — starched it, in fact.

At the base of this neurosis was an unwillingness to release control; to accept that no amount of sorting, stapling, or smoothing would ever put me in charge of the unknown. So I handed it off to God. I prayed and prayed for release from the constant compulsions that made me so tightly wound, so… anal-retentive.

And this is the verse that saved me, that mellowed me, that made me the unflappable person I am today:

Who by worrying can add a single day to his life?

Or, in full translation:

27 Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. 29 But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:27-29 (CEB)

2 Comments»

  on thehomefrontandbeyond wrote @

thanks–I needed those words today

  Larry Who wrote @

Great job of unveiling your past. Thanks.


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