Are you a worrier? Do you maintain a healthy list of the latest things to worry about?
Worrying started at a young age for me, particularly when my parents went out – would our babysitter put the fireguard on properly? Would she know what to do if my brother cried? Was the cat safely in from outside? I had this superstitious notion that if I worried about things sufficiently then the bad thing wouldn’t happen.
Worry seems to stem from a lack of control and focus. There’s no easy solution and so your head is off in a million directions coming up with different scenarios.
The problem is, worrying achieves nothing. In many cases, it can leave us feeling ill or prevent us from living the life we have, here and now.
So what do we do with worry?
One of the hardest things Jesus asks us to do is, not to worry. Karen often reminds me of the AA Serenity Prayer, ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.’
There are 2 steps I now take when worry tries to take hold of me:
1) If there is a part of the worry or problem I can do something about – I do it as soon as possible e.g. check the babysitter has the fireguard on properly. Change what little bit I can with the wisdom and experience God has given me.
Is there something you could practically do now to change a worrying situation in your life?
2) The rest then (‘the things I cannot change’) needs to be lain at Jesus’ feet. The harder bit. I imagine kneeling at the base of the cross and lifting my hands up. ‘Take it God, it’s too heavy to carry. I can’t move forward, am stuck in my thoughts and need You to take control’. It’s a moment of surrender. To choose to trust God over my own strength. I might do this once or I may have to repeat…..and repeat.
It takes a conscious choice to keep putting down the worry and trusting God with it, but the more we do it the more our thought routines are changed. We create a new habit and worry doesn’t have so much power.
Take a moment now to reaffirm your trust in God. Kneel at his feet and hand it over.
Footnote: Something that I’ve found helpful when really overwhelmed by a particular worry is to imagine the worst case scenario. I don’t let myself dwell in it (this is very important!!) but I very practically think through a few concrete steps I would take if that bad thing happened (which is very unlikely). It helps me to see that no matter what, God will always make a way even if the worst happened. He is our ultimate hope. If you can see how you could survive the worst case, you can also survive any other possibility.
What things have you found helpful in dealing with worry? Feel free to add any to the comments section.