December 1, 2007

I Used to Be a Worrier

My mom likes to remind me that I used to worry about everything: learning how to write cursive; thinking that a headache could be a brain tumor; learning how to drive; marrying someone who wants kids because I was terrified of childbirth (I still am feeling anxious about that one because I have married someone who wants children….and no, this is not an announcement!)

I went through a horrible phase of worrying about my mom dying when I was younger. If she was not home at the time she said she would be, I had her dead and would sit staring out the windows crying for her. Once, I went so far as to call a hospital and the police wondering if she was in an accident. Luckily for the both of us, I moved out of that phase; although I still get a little scared about something happening to her despite her constant declarations of “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt anyone” when I warn her to be careful before one of her trips. Mom, you will be happy to know that Jason now says this, too!

My worrying was still pretty bad in college, although the subject matter shifted from cursive writing to what should I do with my life; where should I live; whom will I marry, etc. But, and not all at once, my worrying subsided when I began to understand more what worrying is. Worrying is a useless waste of time. To worry about things unseen or yet to come is a life-robber. To worry is to not trust God.

There is a passage in Matthew 6 that talks about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air- do these not have exactly what they need? Are they not completely cared and provided for? We as humans, as those that are created in the very image of God, are even more valuable then flowers and birds, so why would we not be provided for just as much? Why would He not concern Himself with what troubles us?

There is a difference between worrying and being aware of “obstacles,” as I like to call them. God has given us two very important tools to be able to navigate in and out of those obstacles. The first is a brain that can think through consequences, dangers, etc.- things that can come about from obstacles- and try to dissipate their impact. The second, and most important, is prayer. We have a direct line to the Father to cast our cares upon Him (as He instructs us to do in 1 Peter 5:7) and leave them there.

I am not saying I do not worry anymore, because I do. But when I find myself worrying I try to quickly give that up to the Lord because my worrying is based on things unseen or yet to come; things only the Lord can know. I need to be about the business of the Lord’s- to concern myself with why I am really here; why I have breath; why I am in the lives of the people I know and love.

We are only given so many days on earth and I want to make them count. No one will ever remember or be eternally impacted if I worry about this, that, or the other.

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