My feet had not touched the floor this morning and the first thing that I thought was about all the chores that needed to be done and those that must be done.
My husband woke up too and instead of saying ‘good morning honey’ my ‘undone things’ sicked to my attention first. I looked at him like a confused puppy and while holding my tea cup continued to walk in the house tackling all the worrying chores .
'I am busy' I said and continued hassling.
Our kids were having breakfast and although sat with them on the table I heard very little of their talks as ‘the things’ had my full attention. It happened the same last week when I met with a friend. We talked as we sipped coffee, but my mind kept jumping in and out of the conversation, sometimes focusing on her and other times focusing on things that I needed to do that day.
Worry is like that. At first comes like a gentle reminder then turns to a demanding master. ‘You must do me first, think about me the most, and make me the priority’ it says.
So, worry becomes a time stealer. It tricks us into running through life making worry the focus of our lives. Yes, we can be present in body at our homes, with friends or family and at work, but are we really there with our hearts and minds?
We can be driving our kids to school and all we can think about is that thing that worry us. We could be enjoying a lovely meal, than like an uninvited guest worry shows itself up and we are not longer at the table. We could be walking for some peace and quite and enjoying ourselves, then ...... you guessed it, worry wants to be part of that too.
So we go through life worrying more than doing anything else. We miss being whole at birthdays, weddings, baptisms, friends reunion, family celebrations etc, we are there, but truly we are not. And let’s not forget the simple beautiful and joyful stuff that happens to us daily that worry swipes away too.
Worry my friends is a waste of time, truly!
Like sitting in a rocking chair and putting all the energy and strength to rock it and in the end noticing that you have gone nowhere, so is with worry. It saps all our energy and occupies all our attention, but it solves absolutely nothing, it leaves us tired and wanting. What it does though it robs us of living, it turns our attention to things that are today and gone tomorrow and prevents us from enjoying our lives.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Matthew 6:25-27 NLT
That’s our homework. To stop and think about what worrying has cost us and is costing us. Than to meditate on the words of Jesus, the truth and assurance He gives us. Only knowing that truth will set us free from the lie of worrying.
“If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” John 8:31-32 The Message
Journeying with you
In three days our girls are going to a school trip about six hours drive from home. Did I mention the trip will be five l-o-n-g days?
Last night I tucked the kids in bed and heard the best word any parent can hear ‘I love you mummy!’ said one of our girls. With that word still fresh in my ears as getting ready to go to bed ‘my mammas worry head’ started to spin.
A fear gripped my chest and for a few split seconds I imagined all the possible fatal things that could happen to them during the trip.
I thought, “Perhaps I heard those sweet words from my daughter so that it will be the last words I remember from her” . I don’t know about you, but it hurts when kids don’t say anything affectionate to you, but somehow it’s even scarier when they say something great.
“I got very upset when my husband gave me a diamond ring for my 30th birthday,” said one of my friends. ‘I thought he was about to divorce me and that was the parting gift’ she added.
I believe that kind of reasoning is so characteristic for us women. We get suspicious and fearful when things are good. Somehow we have learned to cope with stress and fear better than with good and well. When life is good and we have no major problems to worry about it seems to throw us overboard.
So, all sort of thoughts continued to flood my mind as I tried to relax in my bed. The images of a bad car accident on the way or the thought of them being forgotten in a city or forest all alone was haunting. What about food poisoning? Animal or human attacks? My mind kept rushing like water from a broken dam.
I kept imagining bad scenario after terrifying scenario until I could not get enough air into my lungs.
I knew I had to stop that crazy thought train before it did, even more, damage than it was doing.
Slowly I reached and held my husband’s hand as he rested next to me and squeezed it tightly.
‘I am afraid’ I whispered ‘I have got this fear that something bad will happen to one of our girls on this coming trip.’
Well, ‘let’s pray’ he said (that is his first standard reply for everything).
We closed our eyes and started to thank God for our lives, our children and this opportunity for the girls to be on the trip. As we uttered prayers of protection and security my heart and mind were warmed by that verse in 2 Tim 1:7 that says:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
There, as I lay on our bed I got a grip on that verse focusing my mind and heart fully there and like a bull-dog will not let it go. I stopped thinking about all evil foreboding that terrified me and started to meditate and think on every word on that passage. First, it was a quick repetition of that verse, but after a few moments I was slowing down with each word until my heart and breath caught up and became all one rhythm
After a few minutes ‘ruminating’ on that verse it felt like someone came and switched my ‘status’ from Panicking to Peace. It was miraculous. Now, that does not happen every time we pray, but I am learning that all the time ‘worry attacks’ me the best thing I can do is expose it (by speaking about it with God, your spouse or friends) because worry loves darkness and isolation.
And as we do that, a Bible verse, a song or simply peace will fill our minds and heart and fear or worry will start and lose its grip.
This really works and I am practising more often than before.
So, the first step to worry-free living is to ask God for help and the second is to expose it as soon as it lands on our mind or heart.
Let’s keep practising friend. It takes time and repetition to break old circles of worry and learn new ones of freedom. Keep going.
To be continued...
Worry has become my closest friend these days. We hold hands closely together and keep talking for the same things over and over. We talk about my children if they gonna settle well in the new place we recently moved. We anguish about the family living budget, what to wear, how to be a good friend, wife, woman. We fret together about the future and how life with pan out in the end.
Our favourite thing to do together is to put in front of every word ‘what if’ and ‘but’.
I always believed that worry was like breathing you have to do it to survive. I mean “How can you stop worrying?” But as long as I kept holding its hand worry never let me be. Like a little worm that eats up a perfect strong living tree so it was with worry. It came gently and small, all well-meant at first but soon became all I could think about. How to get rid of worry then? How do you get rid of a difficult sticky ‘friend?’
Jesus and Apostle Paul said to the believers in the first century to not worry, but how is it even possible to stop worrying? In fact if you read it in its original language (Philippians 4:6-7) what Paul really says is to ‘stop worrying, stop it!’ More like an command if you are asking me.
I am learning that when God says something in command style what he really means is that you cannot do it without his involvement.
You can certainly try to do it by your will power and self-determination, but from my own experience that just ends up makeing it all worse. Worry goes from thinking form to obsessing and dreading behaviour.
So, it looks like the first step to not worry it's not to try and not worry or try and stop the rhythm of your worry thinking with a snap of your finger, but to invite God to help. Yes, that’s the very first thing to do. You might think this it’s too simple or even foolish, but often times the simple things are the most powerful things.
So, in this journey of learning to not worry let’s take the very fist step today. Let’s invite the one who has the ability to not only offer but to be our aide to hold our hand. Let's say with open heart and hands:
Help me Father God to understand and see that worry is not what I am created to live with. Help me to start and loosen my hand that holds worry tightly and extend that hand to you. For you alone has the promise, power and plan for ‘worry free’ living. Thank you for your help. Amen
To be followed ...