Are you a worrier?
I’m not. Not really. Sure, there are times when I’m feeling especially overloaded or burdened, when my eyes snap open in the middle of the night with thoughts that keep me up for an hour or two. I toss and turn, trying to work out several solutions or outcomes for the problems that roll around in my head.
Thankfully these times are few and far between. They were more frequent not too long ago.
Maybe life is just easier now, you think. I don’t know about that. Life moves forward faster and faster, and responsibilities and experiences pile up and more difficult situations to overcome present themselves. Every snowball gets bigger as it rolls along, and life is no exception.
I don’t think my opportunities to worry are less than before.
Things like jobs, relationships, the repercussions of my own behavior, good health and safety, doing right, doing well, missing opportunities, and messing up are always ripe subjects for worrying. As I’ve gotten older I am gripped by the realization that there is little that I can control about most things in this world. My own words, behaviors and decisions. Maybe daily tasks. It’s not much, but it’s enough.
I’m just laid back, man.
The worries never really went away. So how am I so chill?
Call it age, faith, maturity, or all three, but I got tired of worrying, and finally learned to pray. I give more worries to God these days than I did maybe the first twenty years of my life. Maybe. There’s no way to count.
If we kept score by the worries that plague us, most of us would be winning. But God doesn’t want us to worry. We are his children; does any parent wish his or her children to worry?
So far today, I’ve prayed for:
A good day for us all.
Safety for my husband on the road.
Safety for my kids as they walked to the bus.
Peace for a friend.
Love for a friend of my child.
Healing and comfort for a friend of a friend whose child is ill.
Comfort for a friend who lost her grandfather.
Thanks for the rain (to drive me inside so I couldn’t exercise outside. I can’t say all my prayers are selfless.)
Thanks for a smooth morning.
Thanks for his watchful eye.
My kids to do their best in school.
The prayers don't stop. They come more naturally because of practicing, I think. I learned to stop and pray when I read the words “please pray for…” and if something terrible has happened, or if a person’s face or name comes to mind. The worries are kept at bay because when they surface, they come up against God’s omnipotence, goodness, and grace.
Try it. It works.
I wish I could say that I’m 100% successful at not worrying, that I am so in tune with God that his heart is mine. It’s not. After all, I have prayed thanks to God for creating weather conditions that prevented me from exercising so that I could stay inside and be lazy. My prayers could use a little tweaking sometimes. They could use a little more specificity, a little more frequency, a little more thought. There’s always room for improvement.
I trust that God is always listening anyway. That’s something none of us has to worry about.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in you; let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them; let those also who love your name be joyful in you. Psalm 5:11 (NKJV)