The Root of Worry and How to Root It Out
Worry falls like an avalanche, gaining speed and weight as it goes along.
In my 20s, worried I wouldn’t get married. Then at 30 years-old, when my friend (now husband) proposed, I worried he was the right one. Actually, I worried more about me being the right one. I wondered about my responses to finances, kids, affairs, growing apart, sharing our lives completely, and all the things that cause possible bumps in marriages according to Google, yet we weren’t even married.
Kids came along. I worried about miscarriages, health in the womb, and giving birth. Then there was SIDS to worry about, then babies not sleeping, then babies sleeping in later than usual. There were real and imagined illnesses, toddlers taking off running in parking lots, and preschoolers climbing trees and falling out. This is just the early years. Before I know it, they will be driving, going off to college, and getting married themselves.
This may make me seem crazy as you read it, but have you ever listed your worries out? When we put it down in black and white, we all seem a bit crazy. And, honestly, I don’t worry that often. It doesn’t consume me 24/7. It’s just once I get on the worry train, it’s hard to get off.
In a “Mom Struggling Well” podcast episode, Christa Maney discussed her struggle with a crippling anxiety to the point of being unable to function. She realized she needed to distinguish between what was possible and what was probable. Sure, someone breaking into the house is possible, but it isn’t probable so it wasn’t worth worrying about every single night. To help, she focused on Scripture, asked for prayer from her community, and began to find rest.
My anxiety ebbs and flows. It isn’t crippling to the point I can’t function, but I am realizing that it is dangerous. With its sneaky attacks that come at times when I’m not even expecting it, I put my guard down and then I’m done for.
In Paul’s closing to the church at Philippi, he exhorts them:
Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7, NET
So, what do you do about worry? Talk to God.
Anxiety brings worry. Prayer brings peace.
It’s so simple, yet it’s hard because it takes discipline in yet another one of those seemingly small, unseen things.
I have began to pray and God confronted with the ugly truth of the root of my worry: I worry because I want control. I don’t trust God fully, especially when it comes to my family.
I would like to spin a protective web over them, never any pain or problems. Never any death.
If I am honest, I fear that God doesn’t have the same heart for them that I do. I know He allows pain, problems, death. It is hard to remember that His heart is better for them than mine when it could contain pain. I lean towards lies quicker than I do towards truth.
Intellectually, I know a lack of pain does not mean good, but oh, how my heart doesn’t want to acknowledge that.
When Jesus faced the cross, do you see what he did? Do I? He prayed. In earnest. To the point of shedding blood. Then with his unwavering trust in the goodness of God, he faced the cross. With that act, he completed the best thing that had ever happened in history. Not without pain, but without worry.
So, I push towards trust. I pray and give thanks. If we want to root out worry, we’ve got to uncover the lies we are believing and focus on the truth instead.
Because this worry, it’s doing nothing but wearing me out.