Fretting? Do good instead.

I was a tuba player. For seven years of my life. For two years in college I was the fourth chair out of four. The low expectations suited me (pun intended).

Every year during spring break, we went on tour, visiting churches and schools and sunshine. We got to know people on the long bus rides to Florida. Those of us who were undisciplined musicians actually improved because we were practicing every day.

One tour, we studied a psalm as a group. Psalm 37. “Fret not on account of evildoers” it starts out. I remember it well for the feel of the first two words. “Fret not”.

In the worrying and the wondering and the processing and the tapes that play in our heads over and over at night as we wonder about the state of the world and fear for our children and watch ulcers develop from watching endless news, “Fret not” has the impact of a hand slapping the table, stopping our thoughts.

Worrying about, babbling about, fingerpointing about evil solves nothing. It’s just fretting.

But what should I do with all that time I spent fretting?

David lists many things. Here are four.

  • Trust in the Lord.
  • Do good.
  • Dwell in the land.
  • Cultivate faithfulness.

These are things that take time as well. Trust is a cumulative process, not an instant state. “Doing good” is intentionally weighing choices, picking right ones, and acting.  Dwelling is a settling down, claiming space, being a daily person. It’s baking bread, doing laundry, building cabinets, tending trees, putting your name on a cubicle and signing your work. And “cultivating faithfulness”? It’s doing these things over and over and over. Faithfully.

I never practiced the tuba much. I’m working more on cultivating faithfulness. And if you want a place to start, read Psalm 37.


First published back in 2012. And thanks to my friends at Grabill, including especially Troy and Jenny, for their encouragement of chaplains during this season.