"Don't Worry, Be Happy!" Bobby McFerrin released that song in the fall of 1988 and it went on to win several top Grammy Awards in 1989.
If you were around in the late '80s and early '90s, you'll remember, "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" It was an acappella song that had a catchy tune and people walked around singing it to themselves throughout the day.
McFerrin says in his song, "In every life we have some trouble, When you worry you make it double, Don't worry, be happy.... Ain't got no place to lay your head, Somebody came and took your bed, Don't worry, be happy....The landlord say your rent is late, He may have to litigate, Don't worry, be happy....Cause when you worry your face will frown, And that will bring everybody down, So don't worry, be happy..."
It's real easy to tell somebody else not to worry, but it's not always real easy to put into practice. What is it they say? Oh yeah, "It's easier said than done."
The word on the street, and on CNN and Fox News, is that we are facing some historic financial difficulties in our nation and around the world.
But Bobby McFerrin (who was quoting words from Indian mystic Meher Baba) says, "Don't worry, be happy!"
Unemployment is high and we are facing mortgage crises across the country. But, McFerrin and Baba say, "Don't worry, be happy!"
We are in the middle of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we are involved in the NATO attacks against the leadership of Libya, and the song tells us, "Don't worry, be happy!"
Sometimes we do need to be reminded not to worry. I've known people who worried all the time, about every little thing. Worrying never solved their problems, it only made them miserable.
Someone once said, "Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."
We are faced with all kinds of things in life that we could be worrying about, but we need to focus on more productive things than worry.
And it's not good enough to just tell someone not to worry but be happy. There has to be some solution.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "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." (Philippians 4:6-7, New Living Translation)
We can spend our lives learning how to pray, how to turn our worries and our cares over to God. We never stop learning.
But, the only way I have ever found to let go of worry was to pray. It's not always easy, but some things we just have to work for.
True peace of mind can only come from God; and He is waiting to help us find it. He has given us the avenue of prayer to reach out to Him in our times of need.
I went through a rough period in my life with numerous hospitalizations and surgeries. I learned just how meaningful it is to have others praying for me. I didn't worry during that time. I prayed and I knew others were praying for me.
I woke up in my hospital bed one day and I saw my friend, Dennis Pratt from Memphis, sitting across from me with his head bowed in prayer. He was praying for me, and it brought me great comfort.
One of the women in my church, Inez Lane, brought me a prayer shawl that she had crocheted, and laid that over me. It had been prayed over and it brought me great comfort.
Another one of the women in my church, Sandy Morris, brought me a quilt that she had made. Around the edges of that quilt she had stitched this prayer: "Lord, we thank you that you are always ready to help. Surround Doug with your love and grant him peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul. Wrap him in your tender care. Amen."
We can find comfort and peace in times of trouble, if we learn to pray and learn to depend on the prayers of others.
In Psalm 46 we read, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear..."
Don't worry about anything, but pray about everything.
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church and a former staff writer for the Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.