I am a worrier. I’m fairly confident there is a worry gene, and it somehow made its way into my DNA before birth. I have become fairly adept at keeping my worry beneath the surface, a turbulent undertow masked by calm waters. Sometimes I don’t even realize the Worry is down there. But then it is revealed in moments of fear, or in doctor’s diagnoses of ailments like silent reflux. I try to handle my worry with aids like exercise, breathing deeply, and focusing on the positive. But sometimes, these things don’t help. Do you remember those worry stones? The small, smooth tokens to carry around in your pocket. Psychologists insist that rubbing them between your thumb and finger will soothe your nerves and calm your senses. If that is true, I need a worry boulder in my front yard.
The internet has not improved my propensity to worry. Now I have to see every new danger to my children, every random killing, every food not to eat, every place not to go, every political candidate that is going to bring down our great nation. On top of those news and advertising scares are the many worries I steal from others. Anything I haven’t thought to worry about yet, someone has already posted, blogged, or memed. The internet is the meeting place for worriers.
In my calendar, this has been the Year (give or take a few months) of Worry. Worry about selling a house, worry about finding a house, worry about a kid in the hospital, a scary accident at home, a rough start to another year in public education, straight into the worry about our presidential future. My worry stone is rubbed into non-existence. And I don’t think I’m the only one. It is a telling moment where you make a mental list like the one above and realize how much time you have spent on Worry.
Out of this excess of worry come other ugly responses: anger, fear, judgment, sadness. We can see these in the news, hear them in the tremble of voices, find them creeping into our hearts and minds as we watch, read, listen, and fill our minds and hearts with so many things to worry about. We let worry crowd out common sense, peace, and even intelligent thought. But most of all, we allow worry to separate us from what we know to be Truth. When I think about it, most of my favorite verses in the Bible are about worry…I don’t think that is coincidental. Here are a few:
Matthew 6:27- “Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”
Philippians 4:6-7- “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 55:22- “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”
I am going to cling to the Truth and avoid the lies I allow the world to use to lure me into worry. I am going to advocate for right when I see wrong, trusting that my small contribution will make a difference. I am going to educate myself, but not allow that education to scare me or, conversely, fill me with the pride that I can do this on my own. Most of all, I am going to fall back on the promises of God and pray for peace amidst the strife of this world. I am in the worry of this world, but I won’t allow myself to be a victim of it.