Don’t Worry; Get Busy Living!

Newton Fairweather, Pastor, Faith and Joy Church, and CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin
(Scroll down to leave a comment on how you don’t worry and start living.)

I love old movies. The reasons I love them is because they were well made, included great story telling, great acting, and no matter how many times I watch them, they always seem so fresh. Some of them have deep moral lessons we can apply to our everyday life. Recently, I was watching one of my old favorites made in 1994, “The Shawshank Redemption.” In the same year, it was overshadowed by the movie “Forrest Gump,” which received many Oscars at The Academy Awards. However, “The Shawshank Redemption” has stood the test of time and is still “Oscar worthy,” in my opinion. It tells the story about the triumph of the human spirit showed within Andy, and the bond formed between his inmate, Red.

“Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying”

Andy’s story is that he’s in prison serving two life sentences for a crime he did not commit. Red acknowledges that he is guilty and just wants to serve his time and leave. There are many moral messages within this movie about living life. One of the greatest quotes in the film that Andy lived his life by was “Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying.” From the day that Andy came to Shawshank State Penitentiary, his agenda was different from all the other inmates. He got busy living by trying to find a way out, while the other inmates were just passing time.


Worry can be a prison

Too much worry can become like an invisible prison sometimes. Recently I have seen a lot of it and heard a lot of talk about it in the form of high gas prices, high grocery prices, the cost of money going up, inflation being at the highest since the 70’s, etc. I do admit that these are real challenges, and they do demand some of our attention, but not all.

While watching “The Shawshank Redemption,” I thought, what if we had an attitude like Andy? To “get busy living.”

Worries come in many forms, shapes, sizes, at different times and in different places in our lives. No matter what generation you are in, you will have the burden of worries at some point. 


A few quotes about worry:

“Worry can be like the blind spot in your rear-view mirror.”

“Worry is like a bug, the more you feed it the bigger it gets.”

“Worry is like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain.”

“No amount of worry can change anything.”

“Worry will continue as the world turns.”


How do I “get busy living” in this climate of worry?

Search for answers in the Bible. Ecclesiastes 1:9b states, “There is nothing new under the sun.” To me, the Bible is the ultimate GPS. There are moments I fall short and forget where I am, feel beaten down and just plain tired; and yes, I do become worried at times. I am no different from anyone of you. In those times, often, I will run to some of the promises of God. I read them over and over until my spirit grabs hold of it. One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 6:25-26(AMP):

Therefore I tell you, stop being worried or anxious (perpetually uneasy, distracted) about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, as to what you will wear. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the harvest] nor gather [the crops] into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?”

Worry never solves anything. It renders you in a sense of non-movement. Worry sometimes casts a long shadow, and if you are not careful, it can become greater than the very thing that you are facing. 


A battle in the mind

Morgan Freeman at the 10th Anniversary Screening of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ held at the AMPAS in Beverly Hills on September 23, 2004.

The Bible says: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a, KJV). Remember, the battle against worry always starts in the mind. 

“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]” (Philippians 4:8)

What is weighing down your mind? Your heart and your mind will work together to move you from feeling powerless to more powerful than you think. 

Ask yourself: Is there anything too hard for GOD to do? If you are a believer and if you are following the instructions of the Word (the Bible), the above actions will work for you. As a witness, I have been there, done that, and I have seen it work in the lives of family and friends. 



A GPS gives you directions. You can go in the wrong direction all you want, and it will continually give you the right directions, even from the wrong location. That is what the Bible does. You have a choice to continue going in the wrong direction, but the GPS will still give you the right directions. Your worry is never too big that the Word of God cannot give you directions on how to handle it. Will you follow the instructions you receive from the Word of God to turn and go in the right direction? The greatest tool against worry is your actions: You must be discipline, persistent and consistent. These actions will keep you focused on the answers. “Be ye doers of the word and not just hearers only” (James 1:22a, KJV). 


Get busy living

Now back to our movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.” The main character Andy could have just thrown in the towel like the rest of the inmates and surrendered to his situation. He made a calculated choice to “get busy living.” For the next 16 years, Andy dug a tunnel from his prison cell out of the Shawshank State Penitentiary, something that had never been done before. Freedom was his fire to keep going, so he tunneled his way through and came out by the prison sewage line.

Andy received his freedom because he kept his eyes on the solution and eventually his worries became small. You and I can do the same. Yes, it may take us some time, and we may go through some uncomfortable smelly things. However, worry has a life span, it does end. My GPS (the Bible) tells me: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b,KJV).


Newton Fairweather is the pastor of Faith and Joy Church and the CBMC Fort Lauderdale Board Chaplin.

Read last month’s article by Newton Fairchild at:


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