Worry Warts

The thinking goes like this:

You’ve just dropped your kids off safely at school and are headed toward your next destination. It’s the same route you take every weekday. Along it, you pass over a small bridge and for the first time notice a large gash along the safety rail. You mind pauses wondering how it got there and what unfortunate soul suffered a collision over a moving body of water. Then, you throw yourself into the scene:

“What if my car had been the one? What if I hit the bridge and the kids were in the back? How would I get them out? I mean, those car seats. The latches are like solving one of the seven mysteries of the world. They’d be stuck in them. As the car filled up with water! And it’s dirty water. I wouldn’t be able to find my cell phone hidden in the depths of my purse. Why can’t I learn to cary smaller purses? Two of my children can’t swim. Why didn’t I sign them up for lessons last summer like my neighbor suggested?? I’d have to crawl in the back and get us all out—but none of the windows roll down in the back of a van!I knew I should have kept my SUV. I can’t carry three children in car seats and swim to safety all at once. And the water is probably filled with alligators! Waiting to eat children in car seats!! Lord, save my children from the alligators!!”

And that’s all before you make it across the twenty foot span of the bridge.

Are you a worrier? Can you whip up a terrifying scenario with a mere flip of your hair? Maybe you worry about your finances, or your job. Maybe it’s your marriage or a friendship. Or maybe like me, your over active imagination can lead you to worry about everything from toilet plungers to alligators.

Worry can be triggered from any number of things. It can be something you struggle with occasionally, or something that is as natural to you as your next breath. It can cause you to obsess over small details instead of looking at the big picture. It can make you hold yourself back from life for fear that something bad might happen along the road.

The worst thing about worry is that—under the vast majority of circumstances—it’s not only unfounded, but unnecessary. Of all the things I’ve spent time concocting scenarios for in my worrisome moments, I can honestly say that I can’t think of a single one that’s ever actually happened to me. That, my sisters, adds up to a colossal waste of energy. Energy that I should focus other places.

But, there is hope.

Though I come from a looooong line of worriers, over the last year of my life I’ve discovered that I worry less and less. In fact, in my over-the-top-imagination, I can’t think of the last time I built up a what-if-scenario of epic proportions. And they used to be a daily—ok, multi-daily occurrence.

You can be healed from the burden of worry. The key is fully surrendering your future to God.

Now, I have to tell you, my surrender wasn’t pretty. In fact, I’d like to sit down with God someday and rerun that footage of my life as we chat about how it came to be. I imagine myself in one of those funniest-home-video moments where, acting like a small child, I kicked and screamed all the way to surrender. I’m pretty sure I threw things and possibly even stuck my tongue out at the camera as it dared to span by me in my time of complete melt down.

It took some devastating turns in my life. Some life altering changes in which my entire world was turned so upside down, that I had no choice—no choice—but to turn it over to God and beg him to take it from me.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Not at all. So, let’s get to work on yours before your footage begins to roll.

While worry can take a physical toll on your body, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing, the main consideration that you should look at is worry in your relationship to God. Have you ever considered that allowing yourself to worry; is the exact opposite of trusting God?

By placing your focus on what is going to happen to YOU, and how YOU can avoid it, you remove God from the burdens in your life.

The Bible tells us what to do about it:

Philippians 4:6-7 says:

“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.”

So, the steps are:

Replace Worry with Prayer = Peace

This may seem oversimplified. But, it’s not. When we choose not to worry, and instead turn to God in our needs, we give Him room to show us that He can be trusted with the things that concern us. The more we trust Him, the more He rises to the occasion. (Remember, He LOVES to show us His love.) So eventually, the worry – worry + prayer becomes a model of trusting Him with our problems instead. Worry begins to fall out of our lives for good.

All it takes is a little faith. The next time you find yourself thinking about the gash in the rail, pause your mind. Pray right then. Get in the habit of replacing your worry with prayer. You’ll be amazed at how it can change your life. Give it a try. What are you worried about?

Matthew 6:31-33

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

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