Friday, April 22, 2011

Kicking worry to the curb

I haven't blogged in so long that I almost don't know where to begin!

Did you know that I am a closet worrier? I try my very best to hide it behind a laid back demeanor, but's true. I think it was easy for me to hide it because I don't worry about a lot of things that other moms might obsess over: germs, napping schedules, food allergies, THAT stuff.

I guess in my mind I thought it was acceptable or even wise to worry about the biggies. For years I thought God was "preparing me for the worst" when I'd worry about things in my own life, or that I was showing "Christian Concern" when I'd worry about my friends and loved ones. If I'm being vague here are some examples:

 -When we didn't have life insurance I worried when Devin was just a few minutes late coming home. I thought for sure that he had died in a car accident and that I'd be a destitute widow.

-I thought for sure that since some of my very best friends suffered through miscarriages that "God was preparing me" to lose baby Ainsley. I worried to the point of tears through most of my pregnancy. She was just fine!

-I worried about my dad finding a job...twice.

-I worried that my sweet mother in law would never regain her sense of smell or taste and how that would impact her life.

-I worried lots and lots and lots about money.

-I worried lots about my friends: for their marriages, loss of jobs, that they'd find a relationship, etc etc etc etc etc.

-Then there's the usuals: that my kids could get very sick, in a horrible freak accident, SIDS, etc. etc etc etc etc etc

I thought all of this was normal! I thought worrying for my loved ones was a way for my mercy gift to be put to use.

This last year God has been really teaching me that I was so very wrong and that I was robbing myself of joy, trying to be in control, and um, sinning.

You know that verse in Matthew? The one in all red because it's all Jesus talking. The one where he directly tells us not to worry? Yeah. That's about everything. When we choose to ignore that and worry anyway, we are ignoring a direct command from Jesus. I learned this a few weeks ago at a women's retreat and it was really eye opening for me. I know it's not mind boggling or anything like that, but it's truth that hit me in a new light. Here are some more of my favorite verses about worry:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline
2 Timothy 1:7

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Here's my all-time favorite:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

So let me tell you what I've been doing, how I've been stopping the madness:
Most of the times my worries come when I'm sitting in church (I have a short attention span) or laying in bed at night and my mind is whirling. The fear will pop in my head. I can't stop it from popping up, but I can choose what to do with it at that point: I can either go down the "rabbit hole of what-ifs" where I create whole scenerios (that are usually awful) or I can talk to God about it.

Last week I was sitting in church and kind of sort of listening to the sermon when I started becoming fearful that something could happen to baby Ian during childbirth. The rabbit hole started: I started to dwell on how I'd handle it, what I'd say to people, even what I'd do with the baby room until I literally had to tell myself to STOP! I immediately prayed to God and told him my fear and asked him to take it away. That instant I had an image of a smiling boy in my head. Seriously! My first thought was "Did I imagine that or did God put that there?" I guess I'll never know for sure, but I believe it was God, and I am so grateful for that little moment.

This is all going to take lots of time. I think the temptation to worry will always be there. Sometimes I have to pray about the same fear, oh, 25 times a day. I have good days and bad days, and I am determined to beat this, but it will not be with my own strength. The only way I will kick worry to the curb is through the grace of God.  My kids and husband deserve a wife who isn't a crazy person. Let's face it, I've already got a few strikes against me with my whole cat obsession. :)

Anyway thanks for reading this book of a blog post. Is worry something you struggle with? Anyone want to join me on this journey?