I went to see my Nurse Practitioner today for an annual physical. As she was checking me out and going through the slew of questions she’s supposed to ask me to make sure that I’m fit and healthy, I admitted that I diagnose myself with random things like cancer every few weeks. I’ll find a little bump or have a weird sensation and automatically think the worst. A few days later I realize that the bump or sensation or whatever was bothering me is gone and I’ll forget all about it. My NP and I laughed together as she admitted that she does the same thing.
Worry. Mom’s are supposed to worry. We worry about our health, our kid’s health, our husband’s health. We worry about whether our kids are getting enough to eat, if their friends are nice, if they are learning enough, if we are kind enough to them…and if we’re mean enough to them. We worry about what would happen to them if something happened to us. We worry about paying the bills. We worry about fixing the leaky roof. Worry, worry, worry. It can literally consume our every moment.
It’s even worse when something unexpected or tragic happens to us or someone we know. The anxiety that we feel as we try to sort through all of the thoughts and “what if” situations that we face can overwhelm us. I’ve heard so many women say that worrying is our job as moms. If we don’t worry, who will? If we don’t worry, how will we be prepared? If you are a worried mom, you are not alone.
And yet, worry is not a requirement. Worry is not a part of the job description of being a mom, or a woman, or a human. Worry is a choice.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matt 6:25-27 NIV
The majority of the time that we worry, we are worrying about things that will never even happen. Have you ever had an experience where worry actually solved any of your problems? I’m not saying we should ignore our real problems or try to repress them, but worry will never lead to resolution.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matt 6:34 NIV
Worry just spins our wheels and wastes the limited time and energy we have to conquer the real circumstances we are facing. Worrying about not having enough money to pay your bills won’t ever pay your bills. Worrying about your child’s new diagnosis won’t make him healthier.
Your emotions are the result of your thoughts. You worry because of the way you are thinking about your circumstances. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control the way that you think about the circumstance and therefore, you can control how you will feel about it.
Something I’ve dealt with a lot lately is worry over my son’s health. Every time I see him sniffle I start to feel the anxiety rising up within me that he’s getting sick again, which means more sleepless nights, more pain for him, more medical bills, more unanswered questions, more sick days away from work, etc. Most parents see their kid sniffle and they go get a tissue and help them blow their nose and move on. Kids sniffle. It’s not a big deal. My experience over the last year has caused me to think differently. For my son, sniffles often turn into major illness, ear infections, pink eye, and weeks of discomfort. My experience has changed the way I think about sniffles.
But history doesn’t define future reality. What happened last year won’t necessarily happen this year. Fearing the worst will never allow you to experience the best. Sure, we should learn from our experiences and we should prepare for the unexpected, but fear and worry will never lead us to a place of peace and joy.
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 NIV
I don’t need to fear the sniffles. I could instead, trust God. I could simply go get a tissue and move on, like the majority of other parents out there who haven’t had the experiences I’ve had this past year. I just need to change my thinking back to a place of, a sniffle is no big deal. I simply need to handle the reality of my right now and let God handle the possibilities of tomorrow. The sniffles might turn into a major illness tomorrow, but right now, I choose hope. Right now, I choose peace. Right now, it’s just the sniffles and sniffles are no big deal.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 NIV
Easier said than done I know. Especially when things move beyond the sniffles. When your current reality is dark and scary, it’s hard to see the light. When you don’t see anything positive and can’t come up with a solution. That is when we must make the choice to think of hope, to think of love, to think of a power that is greater than this world. We must choose to remember that “greater is He that is in me, than” all of the dark stuff in this world. We must choose to think about the promise that God will never leave us and He’ll never forsake us.
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7 NIV
God will always have a solution. He knew all of the answers long before you were ever conceived.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 NIV
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
Our job isn’t to worry. Our job is to trust in the One who controls all things, holds all things, solves all things, and gives all things. We don’t have to pay our dues to the worried mom club. When the waves of anxiety start to rush in and threaten to overwhelm you, when the storms of life cause you more worry than you can bear, pause, and consider your thoughts. Choose to keep only the good ones. Choose to think about possibilities, hope, solutions, and a power greater than you will ever need.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT