Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Living God's LoveDon’t Worry, Be Happy

by Connie Vandeman Jeffery
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the title and principal lyric of a song by musician Bobby McFerrin. I know you remember it, if you are of a certain age. You’re probably humming it right now. It was released in September 1988, and it became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks. The lyrics go like this:
Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now
Recently (as in before the pandemic), I saw a plaque in the store with the words: Pray About Everything—Worry About Nothing. I had to buy it. It’s kind of like “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” with an added twist—prayer! I liked it immediately, but seriously, are you kidding me? How can you actually pray about everything and worry about nothing at all? It sounds impossible. Well, if you think back, those song lyrics sounded impossible too. But then we got caught up in the joyful lyric and contagious beat and jaunty melody until we finally believed it! It was OK to not worry and just be happy! It seems like a long time ago.
I’m not feeling the same way now. I worry about things, like the latest surge in coronavirus cases and the death toll surpassing 157,000. It will be over 160,000 by the time you read this. I know it’s all out of my control—the virus, social unrest, politics. But is it? I can wear a mask. I can be kind. I can help my neighbor. I can vote. I can listen. I can change. I can make a difference in the whole scheme of things. I can “be happy!” Even when I’m not feeling it, I can have that “peace that passeth understanding” down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart! I can be happy.
Do we need another Bobby McFerrin song? Maybe. Or we can dust off the 1988 version and belt it out in the privacy of our own homes. Or maybe we just need the words on that plaque to remind us to Pray About Everything—Worry About Nothing. Better yet, we need Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).
Isn’t that amazing? The Bible tells us to pray about everything and worry about nothing. That will be my prayer for you today, as well as for me: Don’t worry. Be happy. And pray!
Connie Vandeman Jeffery is the host of All God’s People, a weekly short video series highlighting the people and ministries of the Pacific Union Conference, and has had a long career in media.

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