“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.” -Isaiah 41:10
Worry. This topic has been on my mind for a while now and then when I saw the beautiful Gabriela’s post on the very subject, the wheels started turning and I knew I needed to get this out.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:26
I am a worrier, plain and simple. Always have been. But it’s time to put it to a stop to the worrying. It’s taken over my life and has stolen the joy out of so many things that have happened in my life. Enough is enough.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all.” -Psalm 34:17-19
One morning, almost a year ago, I woke up and something clicked.. I realized that life is too short to be unhappy. Ever since that realization, I have taken my life and started to make it what I want it to be. I’ve stopped basing my decisions on what others think and doing things to please them; instead, I am making decisions based on what I want and what makes me happy. At one time, that simple statement would’ve seemed selfish to me.. but why should it be selfish to want to be happy?
“Trust in the Lord and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” -Psalm 37:3-7a
This past year, my life has drastically changed. I have done things that are daring, things that some may deem crazy, and I have taken risks that I would never have dared to before. Some risks have paid off, others have led to disappointment, and yet more still remain to be determined. But you know what? Despite the disappointments I have experienced and the heartache that I’ve dealt with, I don’t regret one single thing. Because regret may be the most self-destructive thing on this earth.
“You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away.” Job 11:16
Just recently I took a HUGE risk, something many of the people who love me thought I was silly to do. But I had to do it. Because I had this gut feeling that it was worth a shot. If it works out, it’s going to be amazing. If it doesn’t, it’s going to hurt worse than anything I have ever experienced. But I will never have to wonder “what would’ve happened if…” This risk is so huge because I am putting my all into it, everything, and praying that it works out. This risk has led to happiness beyond my wildest imagination, happiness that has shown my family and friends how important this is to me and has encouraged them to support me. This risk has also caused me to hurt.. but the hurt has been caused by myself, what this post is really about, worry.
“By his light I walked through darkness.” -Job 29:3
Instead of enjoying what is happening and living in the moment, I worry. I’ve always liked to have a plan, I like to know what is going to happen.. I think that’s the part of me that is OCD and my type A personality coming out. But this thing, what is happening, it wasn’t planned. I never, ever, thought it would happen. It just happened. I don’t understand everything about it, it doesn’t fit into this neat little box that I so like to fit the other things in my life in. There’s no set “plan” or timetable for how things will happen. It’s all up in the air… which is the scariest thing in the world for people like me. It’s pushing me and challenging this part of me to let go and go with the flow and I am having an extremely hard time doing so.
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” -Exodus 14:13a,14
I constantly analyze the situation and think about what may happen in the future. I look at it from this way and look at it from that way and drive myself crazy thinking “what if..” and “why did this happen…” Instead of being patient and letting things happen naturally, I push and prod because I am so worried that this is too good to be true and it’s all going to slip away from my grasp. I have never in my life worried this much about something. I’ve had more worry and anxiety over this than my stress fracture, my changes in my college career, taking the leap of faith to go to culinary school,… I mean, this is not good.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” -Hebrews 4:16
And then, the other day I experienced a full on anxiety attack. I couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating a hundred miles a minute, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think about anything else,… it was by far the worst thing I have ever experienced. And it was all caused by ME. Me jumping to conclusions, going straight for the worst case scenario, and making myself think the worst. And right then and there I knew that something had to change. I have to let go of this anxiety and worry. It’s not worth it. I can’t enjoy anything and let myself just be happy and live in the moment when I have this constant anxiety. And the thing is, the worry is for nothing! Worrying is doing nothing for the situation, it’s not helping. I truly believe the Lord opened this door for me, this door to happiness.. after all these months of trials and hurt. And I’m practically slapping Him in the face saying “this is too good to be true” and not just accepting the situation for what it is, right now, and not worrying about the future. So why I am doing this to myself? Why am I allowing this to take over my life? I am going to ruin one of the best things that has ever happened to me because of worry. I don’t think so.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9
Plain and simple, I need to chill. The problem is, I’m not quite sure how to go about doing this. Friends and family have helped. Reading comforting Bible verses and praying have helped. But nothing has taken the worry away completely. Sometimes I just repeat to myself “it is what it is” and “what will be will be” and it helps some too… I know that the Lord has a plan for me, he has a will for me. And he wants me to be happy… he did NOT bring this situation about to torture me and make me miserable. He is not a God of hate and unhappiness, he is a God of love and joy. Everything happens for a reason, plain and simple. I just have to trust my God that he knows what he is doing. I have to let go. Because despite what my happen, despite everything, He is always there. I will never be alone. I will never have to face trials alone.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8: 31b, 35, 37-39
So I am saying goodbye to worry, goodbye to anxiety. I will not miss you. I will be happy and enjoy life. I will take what the Lord has given me and live it up and enjoy it. I’ll take it for what it is, day by day. I will savor each moment and not rush it… it will happen in its own time (this is also a test of patience for me, another thing I have a problem with). If I can just let this go, this worry, this OCD behavior, this anxiety… this could be one of the happiest times of my life. Someone wise once told me “some of the most beautiful things in life cannot be planned.”
“Your father knows what you need before you ask him. So do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ 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. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Matthew 6:8b, 31-34
Do you suffer from worry and/or anxiety? How do you deal with it? How do you fight it?