“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” Swedish proverb
I am an inveterate worrier. When my husband and grandson were building magnet block creations recently, I was the person who was concerned that the boy would fall off a kitchen chair, hovering close by in case I needed to catch him; my husband was the one who built a rocket. Guess who had more fun.
When we were looking to book a house in Phoenix, Arizona for an upcoming family trip, I was the one who agonized over the choice, changing my mind a zillion times before finally settling on the “perfect” house. I was worried I would make a bad choice for my family.
My perfect choice was scuttled, however, when the owner of the house offered to book the house to me privately, making an end-run around the vacation rental site and saving me money, but immediately causing me to mistrust him. This caused my worry-meter to register off-the-chart readings.
I worry whether the new recipe I am trying for dinner tonight will be tasty, I fret that the niggling ache in my knee is an incipient running injury, and I agonize over the strange new growth on my thigh, with the term “basal cell carcinoma” flashing in my brain.
Oh, I know most worry is unproductive. It causes lost sleep, tension, and general unhappiness. We worry because we project unpleasant outcomes for situations.
The ability to anticipate potential problems is probably the reason your ancestors remained alive long enough to procreate, but when that ability goes into overdrive, it creates more problems than it solves.
One issue with worry is that it seemingly works. Each time we worry about a problem and nothing bad happens, our brains equate worry with a positive outcome. We unconsciously believe by worrying, we prevented something unpleasant from occurring.
“Seemingly” is the operative word, however. There is a big difference between problem-solving, which is productive, and worrying, which is not.
In order to overcome worry, we must be able to accept uncertainty. This requires self-confidence. We must believe in our ability to handle the various outcomes possible in a given situation.
A realistic way to do this is to break our worries into manageable chunks. Rather than worrying about losing five pounds, I can cook a healthy dinner tonight. Instead of worrying about muscle tone fading as I get older, I can go to Body Pump class today. In place of worrying whether my relationships with family who live far away are diminishing, I can send a text or make a phone call. As an alternative to worrying about whether I have the stamina to run a marathon, I can add an extra half mile to my long run this week.
Breaking our worries into actionable portions gives us a feeling of control.
Of course, we cannot control every facet of all situations. Sometimes we just need to release worries as unproductive and futile. In that case, I recommend following this wise advice, which works for even the most hard-core worrier (me):
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
*It is my plan to document the arrival of spring here in this corner of Southeastern Pennsylvania through the progression of blooming flowers. This is the tenth and final picture in the series. The flowers pictured above are rhododendron. I took this picture one rainy Sunday morning in my yard.
I am linking with Cee’s FOTD Challenge, Welcome Heart for Let’s Have Coffee, Soaring with Him for Recharge Wednesday, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Rachel Marie Lee, Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Lyli Dunbar for Faith on Fire, and Worth Beyond Rubies.
Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.