I specialize in worrying.  At least that’s how it seems since I spend so much time doing it.

I distract myself from worry.  But it doesn’t work very well.  Eating cookies doesn’t really put out the fire that worry fuels.

I circle around, worrying without making any forward progress.  I end up back where I started, still worried.

When I was in high school, worry spiraled like this:

1)  Oh no!  I missed a question on my algebra test!
2)  What will I do?  I did not get 100%!
3)  I will never get a scholarship.
4)  No college will admit me.
5)  My life is over.
6)  I will end up homeless, living in a damp box.
7)  My feet will be cold because everyone knows homeless people have trouble getting clean socks.
8)  The end.

I don’t slide down the muddy slope with so much speed these days, but it’s still a mess.

Bad news–the kind of news I can’t change or fix or avoid–sits on my head and gnaws at my brain, nibbling a hole directly through my skull.  Bad new is like a rabid squirrel, in other words.  I can’t shake it and I can’t get a rabies shot.  It grabs hold of my hair and won’t let go.

So, this is what I do.  I gather a crowd.  I pull in every negative situation I can remember–the group of writers who didn’t invite me to join them–the overwhelming paperwork that has covered my desk and requires more time that I have to give–the clothes in my closet that don’t fit–the dark mole on the bottom of my foot that worries me because my dad died from skin cancer–the friend who is inexplicably silent . . . I gather all these enemies around, hug them close and invite them to torture me with their sharp sticks.

Because I am ridiculous and do things that make no sense.

Today, I decided that every time I started to worry about a particular thing that I would say to God, “Okay, look, I am really worried about this but I am just going to trust You to handle it.  Thanks.”

That helped.

I need to remember to do that more.  Every time, even.

Worry, though.  It’s a hard habit to break.

8 thoughts on “Worry-wart

  1. I do this constantly and I have to make an effort to stop it. I do it a lot when I’m trying to fall asleep or if I wake up during the night. Most of the worries are unfounded and are not as bad during the daytime hours. All the while I’m worrying I have a song playing in my head which makes me crazy. I pray and then with each breath in I think “relax” and each breath out I think “sleep”.. it takes the song and the thoughts away.. This sounds a little crazy but hope I’m not!


  2. Repeating the Jesus Prayer helps. I read Frederica Mathewes’ Green’s book on it a few years ago. Repeat it, filling in the names of the people you’re worried about, till the cloud lifts. The repetition lifts the nurden if finding the right words….


  3. I am like that too and I have a 9 year old daughter who is also that way. Lucky for me I’m married to a very wise man who always reminds me to “feel it, but don’t feed it!!”


  4. why don’t we trust God more? it is a worry…haha!!
    loved every word ’cause i do the same thing!!
    hope you are loving your new place and the church! God’s blessings!!


  5. An Australian friend of mine knew a very wise Irishman who told her of the 99/1 rule of living a happy life. 99% of what we fret about never comes to pass. The 1% that does? We face it, deal with it, and move on. It was the most enlightening and liberating — from endless years of fretting and stewing about EVERYTHING — bit of advice I ever got. It came in my epiphany year of 1999 and I have lived my life by it ever since.


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