I have always considered myself “the designated worrier” in my family. I worried about everything….were the windows locked at night, were the cats inside? In fact, I can remember that in 6th grade (when we were learning about marijuana and heroin) that I fretted that while I walked to school, someone was going to jump out from behind a bush, stick me with a needle and I’d be forever addicted.
When my kids were babes, I worried about dogs biting them, kidnappers running off with them, car accidents, SWING accidents – you name it, I worried about it. And of course, I worried a lot while caring for my father.
I have to relay this one story. I’m an R.N. and for many years worked in the NICU with babies. You would think that an R.N. would be very calm with her own children, but NO, it only gave me more to worry about.
My daughter, who was about 14 months at the time, had a virus. I put her in the bath tub to get her temperature down and was drying her off after getting her out of the water. She began to shiver. “She’s having a seizure!” I yelled to my husband, “Call 911 !” My husband calmly said to me……………..”she’s cold”. Oh. Yeah.
But I digress.
Worrying is not good. It’s not good for the body; it’s not good for the soul. Worry causes the body to produce stress hormones and causes untoward affects such as high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, headaches, fast heart rate, asthma, irritability and lack of sleep. Unfortunately it is one of the emotions that caregivers experience frequently. But most of the things that we worry about don’t come true or are out of our control. We must become intentional about not worrying.
Worry is defined by Webster as “to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious”. It ALSO means “to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping, especially at the throat”. YIKES!
Worry is also a sin. Did you know that? It’s one of those “respectable sins” that we tolerate, according to Pastor Mike Rima, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “To worry, is to accuse God of neglect and calls into question his competence”.
To worry is to assume a responsibility that is not necessarily ours to assume. But sometimes we feel guilty for NOT taking on the worrying role. It feels that if we don’t worry, then we are not caring as much as we think we should. Sometimes it seems as though it gives us more credibility: “Yes, Mom is very worried!” In reality, the worrying doesn’t change anything and may in fact make matters worse by causing us not to take action against that which is worrying us.
God has given us permission not to worry. In fact, he has commanded it. In Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV), it is written “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”
You have God’s permission not to worry and now you have mine. (Of course, mine is not as important, but it’s there.) When you feel the worry coming on, go for a walk (See my post on Walk Away Your Worries), meditate, exercise, write in your gratitude journal or your daily journal, dance, put on your “Go To” song, call a friend (but don’t put your worries on them), smack the pillows, cry and — turn your worries over to God.
Yes, I know it’s not easy. Let’s practice together.
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