Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Worry, Thy Name is Woman

My apologies to the Bard for a clumsy attempt at wit, but don't you feel like it's true?  I know men worry, but it seems they do it on a more broad spectrum scale: job, money, who will win the Super Bowl this Sunday.  But women - and it seems especially mommies - have the capacity to worry about everything.  In infinite detail.  Given 10 seconds alone to think, the worry center of a woman's brain kicks into high gear.

Did I lay the baby on her back?  Is it too cold in her room?  I don't want her to get sick.  Maybe I should lay a blanket over her.  But what if she pulls the blanket over her face?  What if it smothers her?  Maybe I should skip the blanket.  But she didn't cry when I laid her down.  Maybe she's already sick.  Maybe she was too weak to cry.  She felt a tad warm earlier today.  Does she have a fever?  What if it's the measles?  I knew I should've vaccinated her on schedule! 

Before you know it, mom's laying in the crib next to the baby and trying to test-breathe through a blanket while waiting for the doctor's answering service to return her panicked call.

Maybe that's why God rarely gives mothers 10 seconds alone to think.  I know if I find the time I worry.  In fact, I'm kind of worried that I worry more than normal people. 

Yes, I see the irony.

I'll be fine for awhile; life is trucking along at it's usual breakneck pace, giving me plenty to blog about but not much time to write.  And then I get side-swiped by a fear I didn't see coming and my anxiety skyrockets.  I can't sleep.  I can't focus.  My kids, my husband, and my responsibilities slip to the wayside.  I forget to eat.  Sometimes it lasts a few hours, sometimes a few days.  But in the end, I'm always ashamed of the way I let that fear take control of me, especially when my worry was so often for naught.

The question that always comes back to me is, "Do I trust God?"  And the answer is an emphatic YES.  I don't have enough time or room here to detail God's faithfulness to me throughout my life, but after 30 years as his child, I know for certain that my God is a trustworthy God.

So why the fear?  If I trust God, why do I allow my anxiety to control me when circumstances appear to be out of my control?  (And why do I continue operating under the delusion that I have any control?)

Two things occurred to me recently:

1)  God made me.  He wired me to be exactly this way.  I don't think He's looking at me in confusion wondering "That's odd.  Why is she so worried?"  He knows all about my morbid imagination, my capacity for assuming the worst, and He's not shocked by it.  The truth is, I think if I stepped out of His way He'd be able to leverage my feelings for His glory - that He'd remove my worry and replace it with insight.

2)  He loves me.  And He has given me His Word to remind me of that love, but I have to be willing to read it.  I confess that I read less when life is going well.  But when I'm facing anxious times?  Oh, the Scriptures I find!

Matthew 6:31-34
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

So I'm not going to waste any more time wondering if I worry too much.  I probably do, but worrying about that isn't adding any value to my life.  Instead, I choose to accept my worry as a natural part of who I am.  And then I choose take it before the throne of the God who made me, and trust Him to take care of my every need.


Linda (Nina's Nest) said...

Amen, sister....well said! LMN

Lynnette said...

I've only been to your blog a handful of times, but I stopped by tonight. And I read your post, and it made sense to me. And then I read the scriptures you posted, and they were for me. Specifically the Philippians one. So, for tonight, I'm going to try to turn off my worry brain and head to bed praying that verse, trying not to be anxious, handing over my requests to God, and waiting for that peace He so often promises us.
From a complete stranger,
Thank you!

A.M. Mama said...

This, my friend, is TRUTH! Thanks for sharing it so beautifully...

Erin said...

Great truth to be reminded of...and so important to make note of it for those times when worry really sets in, when it is hard to look out from the blinders of anxious thoughts. Thanks, Kari!