Do you worry about test results that aren’t back yet?
Do you worry about someone’s reaction prior to a difficult conversation?
Do you worry about consequences from decisions before even taking action?
Do you worry about things out of your control that haven’t happened?
Do you worry the night before about not waking up to your alarm in the morning?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, know that you are not alone. While we all have different areas of anxiety, the fact of the matter is everyone will worry at some point when encountering a potentially stressful situation. We may not feel someone else’s pain, but we sure know our own. And we tend to worry.
Take me for example. I generally don’t get too worked up over medical tests. I figure I’ll worry about it when I actually know if there’s something to worry about. So while I know many friends and family members who aren’t as relaxed about this as I am, I just don’t pre-stress about medical concerns. BUT, on the other hand, relationship problems? Oh man do I turn on the ‘pre-worry’ machine then. Bigtime!
Currently, my husband and I are in the middle of an extremely heartbreaking situation with one of our children. The past year has been taxing beyond compare and emotions have been all over the place – sadness, frustration, anger, fear, disappointment, shock, dismay, guilt, regret, etc. You name it, we’ve experienced it. But through the unspeakable heartache, we’ve preserved a sense of peace. Individually and as a team, we feel called to speak truth in love. Always. Being responsible and obedient to our call as parents is not a choice or a charge we take lightly and we are confident, that while brokenhearted, we are doing what is right.
So the point of my story? What AM I worrying about?
That’s right, I’m worrying about 2018.
What if the brutality of the situation hasn’t ‘hit’ me yet and what if a year or two down the road, reality sets in and the enormity of the situation is too overwhelming to bear?
So I worry now about what may happen in 2018. Or in 2020. Because clearly this will make a helpful and positive difference.
Even if the weight of the truth proves to be as devastating as I fear, I wouldn’t change the path I’ve chosen now. The truth doesn’t change the call to do what is right. So what’s the point in worrying? Why worry now about something that may or may not happen and something I am not willing to change?
It’s ridiculous. Theirs is no point to it. And I am working desperately not to succumb to the bondage of worry.
Worrying Does No Good At All
Know that when you worry, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Worry doesn’t change the outcome, it only wastes your time, zaps your energy, and steals your joy.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Being Thoughtful vs Worrying
There is a huge difference between being thoughtful and worrying.
For instance, consider the following:
- Discussing legitimate health concerns with your doctor and following up on specific concerns vs. worrying about everything little thing that might possibly be wrong and allowing your thoughts to paralyze you
- Considering the most effective approach when confronting someone with a problem vs. worrying about the fallout from the talk you’ve prepared and prayed for
- Weighing and balancing the pros and cons before making an important decision vs. worrying about the outcome of a thoughtful decision you’ve made
- Enjoying the trip you’ve carefully planned vs. worrying about the unknowns that can occur when traveling
- Setting your alarm and falling asleep vs. worrying about not getting up and losing sleep
Logic vs. Irrational Emotion
One approach is proactive and productive while the other is ineffective, wasteful, and even harmful. Worrying can take a huge toll on you not only emotionally but physically as well. Sleepless nights, high blood pressure, and stress on your heart can add up to big trouble fast!
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27 Nope, but you can sure take them away!
Are Your Concerns Valid?
Before hunkering down into worry mode, stop and consider if your concerns are valid. If they are, Do Something About Em’!, and if not, ‘Check Em’ Off Your List!.
Do Something About Em’! – The most important consideration is to determine what is or isn’t within your control and then take action! We’ve developed a simple 8 step
to help you work through a problem or challenge. The key? After you’ve arrived at a thoughtful decision, resist the urge to worry. You’ve done the best you can and have given it your all. Worry will not make you any more effective or successful. Pour your energy into solving the problem, not prolonging it.
Check Em’ Off Your List! – In theory this sounds uber simple, but we all know the truth. Releasing worry and allowing yourself permission to ‘let it go’ can be painstakingly difficult; oftentimes downright impossible. Your heart and head must be aligned. Logically, you might understand something to be true but if you can’t convince the rest of your body to follow suit, you’ll never obtain victory over worry. Sometimes the bigger battle itself is in facing the facts and eliminating denial. Pray for discernment and consult trusted counsel if another perspective is warranted. Do whatever it takes to check worry off your list.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6
The truth of the matter is that ANY WORRY, whether it’s ‘pre-worry’ or worry about a genuine concern isn’t helpful. And while decluttering worry doesn’t guarantee success or eliminate the problem, at least you’re not magnifying the problem with self-imposed harmful distractions.
My back has been bothering me. Last night before turning in I said to my husband, “I dread getting in bed because I KNOW in the morning I’m going to be stiff and sore.” The second the words came out of my mouth I grimaced. My worry was exactly the point of the post I had JUST finished writing. I had no intention of staying up all night walking around my home, so sleep was going to happen. And I had done everything during the day to ensure I was on the road to recovery….stretches, essential oils, and a trip to my most favorite and wonderful chiropractor. There was nothing more to do, except go to bed without worry! So I did.
Don’t let pre-worry deter you from doing what’s right. Join me in making the decision to declutter all worry forever and experience unspeakable joy and freedom.