(photo by Tim Gouw)
I’m really good at worrying. And I was even better at it when I was a kid. I used to imagine the worst about everything.
If my parents left the house, I knew they weren’t coming back. Either because they would die in a horrible car vs. bus vs. airplane accident. Or they’d simply change their mind about being my parents and head down to Mexico for a few decades.
I was convinced the most awful things lived right outside my door, or under my bed, or in my body. So I worried.
By the time I was 16 I had an ulcer. The doctor said I had a highly acidic stomach, likely due to anxiety. I was concerned to hear that.
As a follower of Jesus, I heard early on that I should not “be anxious for anything”. And that “with prayer and petition”, all I had to do was present my requests to God, and everything would be okay.
So I prayed A LOT over the things I worried about. And soon my prayers were just another way of worrying. Anxiety dominated my prayer life which meant I was probably missing the point.
This pattern continued throughout my 20s and most of my 30s until one day my therapist said something that clicked with me:
“If it’s not happening now, it’s not happening.”
By that she meant, if I wasn’t currently surrounded by a pack of hungry wolves, quicksand up to my chin, the red dot of a sniper’s laser-sight hovering on my forehead…then I wasn’t. Period.
I was worried she had a good point.
So I stopped worrying about things so much. Not because I should. Not because I finally found inner peace. But just because if it wasn’t happening NOW, then it just wasn’t happening. And the truth is, it was never happening. Very few snipers ever took a shot at me (to my knowledge).
I know you worry a lot, too. You worry about your finances. You stress about your kids – the ones you have, the ones you’d like to have, the ones you wish would FINALLY leave.
You worry about what people think of you. And what to wear to parties or work or school or church. You worry that you’ll never amount to anything or that you’ve missed the boat on your divine purpose. You worry about identity and getting carjacked and whether you’re eating too much sugar (you are).
I’m with you, sisters and brothers. I get it.
But if it’s not happening RIGHT NOW, IN THIS MOMENT, then it’s not happening.
That’s why I want to give you a gift today. The gift is called…
PERMISSION TO QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT.
Sometimes we think we can’t stop worrying about a thing because, if we do, the terrible thing will DEFINITELY HAPPEN. We assume our constant vigilance is required.
But you know what? That’s a lie. A big fat lie with bad breath.
Your vigilance is no longer required. It never really was. What IS needed is your willingness to keep moving, keep creating, keep hoping, keep giving, keep loving.
What IS needed is to constantly take your eyes off the waves and put them on the one who can walk on the waves.
So please accept this gift: PERMISSION TO QUIT WORRYING ABOUT IT.
I even created the graphic below to help you remember. Because I’m all artsy like that.
Just click on the image, save it to your desktop and print it out. Then stick it on your bedroom wall or your bathroom mirror or above your desk.
Yes, I’m worried it looks a little cheesy (it probably does). But whatever. I hope you like it anyway. Click the graphic to download it now! Before it’s too late and something terrible happens!! Snipers!!!
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