Worry: 15 Things

On the way to the zoo:

“Mommy, will we have enough gas to get there?”

Seeing all of the cars in the parking lot:

“Will we be able to see the animals?”

On our way into the ticket gate at the zoo:

“Are we too late? Will we have enough time?

Waiting for our lunch in a long line at the zoo:

“Will we be able to find a seat for all of us?”

On our way home from the zoo:

“Mommy, will I have enough time to play when I get home?”

Everywhere we went yesterday, my little boy had a concern for the next step, a worry for the next moment, a doubt for the next provision. And to be honest, it was driving me nuts. It was driving me so nuts that when he got ready to worry about the order of the putt-putters for the birthday party last night, I had lost my ever-loving mind.

“Buddy, just live in the moment!” Stop worrying about the next thing! We’ll take care of it!” 

And just as soon as the words came tumbling from my tongue, I felt conviction.

I felt conviction not because I was a little terse in my response or a little impatient with his worries, though I was. No, I felt conviction because I’ve been that soul who keeps worrying about the moment I’m not living and fretting about the day that’s not happening.

I’ve been that little girl who asks her Heavenly Father a million and one concerned questions about the next steps and the next provisions.

I’ve been her.

I’ve been the one who is living in June 27th but freaking about the week of July 3rd. I’ve been the one who is asking the “what-if” and “what-about” and “how will” questions. I’ve been the one who is living in one moment but worrying about the next.

Again, I’ve been her.

And as I thought about my response to my oldest who hasn’t fallen far from my emotional tree, I simply said the following:

“Buddy, worrying about tomorrow isn’t helpful for today. I know because I struggle with that, too.” 

I’m not sure it eased his worries or alleviated all of his questions, but it seemed to take the edge off his urgency and maybe just maybe…it made him feel a little understood. He wasn’t alone in his struggle; he wasn’t the only one who fights to live in the moment.

But I’ve been thinking about yesterday a lot, and I guess I wanted to share a few of my thoughts…in no particular order and with no long sentences or lengthy explanations.

  1. Worrying steals the moment.
  2. Fretting magnifies the future.
  3. Worrying distracts.
  4. Fretting increases fear.
  5. Worrying holds joy ransom.
  6. Fretting is exhausting work.
  7. Worrying involves a lot of assuming and a lot of blank-filling.
  8. Fretting is like riding a stationary bicycle; it gets you nowhere fast.
  9. Worrying makes your stomach hurt.
  10. Fretting breaks your relationship with trust.
  11. Worrying trains the mind to believe we’re in control of every moment.
  12. Fretting involves little reward and even smaller control.
  13. Worrying clouds and crowds special memories.
  14. Fretting forgets and neglects the sovereignty of God.
  15. Worrying wastes our one and only life.

Now I wish I could tell you I wrote this list because I’ve succinctly conquered my issues with worry and fretting with 15, easy bullet points, but I haven’t. I wrote this list because my heart needs to be tuned to trust and trained to rest. I wrote this list because I will need to re-visit it…again and again. I wrote this list because I believe my son will need to hear it…again and again. I wrote this list because it feels like one more step in the right direction of catching fears, challenging fears, and changing fears.  I wrote this list because capturing distortions and worry-lies is crucial. I wrote this list because it realigns my heart and refocuses my mind. I wrote this list because I believe it’s true TRUTH. I wrote this list for me. But if it helps you, too… great!

And just in case you need to reinforce your “worry arsenal” and beef up your “worry weapons,” check out these words of absolute TRUTH.

Matthew 6:25-34

Proverbs 3:5-6

Philippians 4:6-7

John 14:27

Psalm 55:22

Proverbs 12:25

1 Peter 5:6-8

May peace rule over every minute, and may He reign over each next step!

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