It feels so good to be back! Did you miss me? Remember when God and I and you all kicked Leukemia in the butt? Well, while I was unconscious and intubated in ICU, apparently my mom promised me that if I didn’t die, she would take my sister and I to Hawaii when I got better. Last week was that “better” and we spent 9 amazing days celebrating not dying! I thought of you often while I was in Hawaii. We’ll get back to that in a moment.
Awhile back, I signed up to receive a “word of the day” email since, as I write, I feel a yearning for better, smarter ways to express myself. Today my word was, nuncupative. Never heard of it? Me either. It means, “spoken rather than written: oral.” I thought, that’s what my blogs were like while I was in Hawaii–noncupative! I was with my mom and sister and we had several conversations that would qualify as a blog entry.
So, for better or for worse, here is the first entry, post-Hawaii. I know you will be shocked to hear me write, again, on the topic of worry. But as it turns out, being 5 hours earlier than where I live and an ocean away provides several new and improved modes of worry. I have experience with a couple of them, but it turns out they are heightened when you are 4,214 miles from home “as the crow flies” (that’s what Siri tells me).
The two basics types of worry are 1)not getting what you want and 2)losing what you have. In regards to not getting what I want, I realized I developed a way to worry that isn’t just about fear of what might happen, but more specifically, about what might not happen. And by what might not happen I mean it involves my expectations. I expect my kids to graduate and get good jobs and not live at home forever and ever Amen. I expect my job to be successful and to move up and to the right. I expect my friends to call once in awhile and invite me out. I expect my body to look like a 21 year old, ok, how about 30 yr old, even though I am 47. I expect to be more mature and kind and generous and honest as I age and grow and learn. And I worry. I worry that those things might not actually happen, and God forbid, that they might happen but not in the way I have mapped out in my little head.
And let’s just graze the fear and worry that comes from losing what I already have. Even though my life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty good today. What if, in the blink of an eye it all changes. I have lost many things in the past few years that really side-swiped me. My health being up at the top of that list. As much as I fear not getting what I want in the future, it can also be terrifying to think of everything changing. Today, while it isn’t perfect, is also not terrible. And I know how to deal with today because I am in it. What if any of it should go away?
So, those two are pretty common types of worry and ones I hear others talk about regularly. Lucky for you I have identified a couple more, less commonly addressed types of worry to add to your list.
You can worry about what might have happened in the past. While we were in Hawaii we went on a dinner cruise, which in reality was a roller coaster ride of 5 foot waves the majority of the time, up the Na Pali Coast. We had a wonderful and safe time. The next day my sister pointed out how crazy it is that boats can float. The physics of it all started freaking her out. And those waves? Oh my gosh, we could have died! How could a young captain and a marine biologist from the crew save 40 people? The thought of what could have happened started freaking us out! And to top it off, my sister had to leave a day early. After she had been in the air for 3 hours they captain announced that they would be back to their original location within the air. The plane was having mechanical trouble. They sweated bullets for the next hour and after they landed safely, they were towed in to the gate while fire trucks and ambulances stood by on the runway, “just in case.” Now, that there will give one pause to think about what might have happened.
And I just love this last one. I actually think I found a loop hole. God says to only worry about today. Meaning, what’s happening at this very moment. Well, about 8:00 in the morning, Hawaii time, I found myself worrying about a test one of my kids had later that day. When it hit me; it is later today in Illinois! I was free to worry to my heart’s content. It seemed like worrying about the future when it is actually the present has to be ok, right?
But, like I said about this blog, for better or for worse, God has the same answer for you regarding worry–don’t do it. He says don’t worry 365 times in the Bible. Do the math. He says to be anxious for nothing, but in everything give praise.
The only way to keep our minds and hearts from being overwrought with worry of any variety is to be grateful and trust Him. Be grateful for what we have and will have, even if it doesn’t fulfill our expectations. Be grateful for what we had and how long we had it, even if we lose it. And be grateful for and trust His sovereign (supreme, absolute, unlimited, boundless, ultimate, unconditional) will for our individual lives.
So, there you go. I have outlined a few ways you didn’t even know you could worry. I am sure you have a few of your own up your sleeve. Regardless of how many avenues you find to worry, remember: the solution is always the same.