Don’t worry about sharks. Worry about cows or mosquitoes.

Or…don’t worry at all

In the Bleachers

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. —Mark Twain

According to Oceana, a nonprofit organization, sharks kill only about four people a year worldwide and only one in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cows kill more than five times the number of people than sharks do. One research study reported an average of 22 deaths a year by bovines, typically due to stomping or goring.

Mosquitoes are the most dangerous; they kill 655,000 people each year, primarily in Africa, through the spread of malaria.

So why all the fuss over sharks?

Sometimes in life, we worry about the wrong things. Things that are large and have sharp teeth get our attention, but we’re often waylaid by less obvious assailants—we worry the most about things that endanger us the least.

For instance, we may inordinately worry about getting shot by a random shooter in a public area but ignore our daily intake of calories. We may obsess over being antiseptically clean—washing our hands often, using sterile wipes—but contaminate our minds by watching trash on TV.

Things that look menacing may not be, whereas some things that are invisible may be. We may cautiously avoid people with tattoos who drive loud motorcycles, but neglect getting a flu shot.

Sometimes, the mass media prompts us to focus on inconsequential issues. After all, they have to discuss something to fill up the required time and space, and they usually try to create a sense of emergency and concern regarding their topics, even banal ones.

Actually, I don’t see the advantage in worrying at all. Corrie ten Boom said,”worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

But if you insist on worrying about something, at least worry about things that might truly hurt you. Forget about sharks.

[reminder]What are your thoughts about this essay?[/reminder]

What? – If you must worry, at least focus on issues that might matter.
So what? – We often worry needlessly.
Now what? – Analyze what you are concerned about and make sure it is a legitimate concern.

12 Replies to “Don’t worry about sharks. Worry about cows or mosquitoes.”

  1. Wow, Don, I guess you’re right. We’re selective about most things—from what we obey in God’s Word to what we worry about. It seems all of our lives are buffet. I’m grateful for the reminder about sharks. They scare me.

    1. Ever since the movie Jaws, we’ve had a collective fear of sharks in our society. There are things that are more dangerous to our souls, that we often ignore. Thanks for our friendship.

  2. Your wisdom brings great comfort and teaching to me. This one hits me head-on.
    Sometimes I get caught up in the bad news of the day, but when I do I pause and thank
    God for being in total control. Worry improves, nor solves anything, yet I continue to do it. I know I cant change the past and the future may never me mine, so I must live in
    the present. Your writings give me encouragement and strength to face each challenge.
    I worry mostly about my divorced daughter and grand children, My love one is home with our Lord as of July 20, 2013. That was a day of great sorrow but also a day of great joy. She has no worry, no multiple sclerosis, no pain just joy and happiness. So why do I worry, I don’t know.

    1. Doug, thanks for sharing your thoughts. We all struggle with needless worry. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss about 2.5 years ago. I’m glad we have the Lord to help us through difficult times. Don

  3. Remembered from my old languages classes as an undergraduate, an old French proverb that stuck with me:
    Some of your griefs have been cured,
    and the sharpest you still have survived.
    But what torments of pain you’ve endured
    from evils that never arrived.

    1. Gala, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I like the poem. Another writer said, “Worrying works; look at all the things I’ve worried about that never happened.” 🙂

  4. Reminds me of what Mother always said – Worrying works; look at all the things I’ve worried about that never happened. Never did break her of worrying.

    1. Elaine, worrying is a waste of energy. I’ve not heard the phrase your mom used, it’s very quotable. Take care and thanks for writing. Don

  5. Great thought! Sometimes I think the reason we focus on the Sharks of life is because we can see them coming and have enough sense to want to get out of the way. As for the smaller things that are more dangerous, we just aren’t looking to get out of the way because we are bigger in our finite minds.

    1. Bobby, I think you’re right. Some things get our attention more than others but we don’t stop to figure out which is more dangerous. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Don

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