I am a pretty “to the max” emotional guy. I get excited and I get mad and I get sad. I also get worried. But worry isn't as straightforward as the other guys. It likes to hang back and not really say anything for a while, waiting for just the right moment. Then it suddenly pounces on my unsuspecting daily routine like some roaring beast and tears everything to shreds.
What I am saying is that I can be just casually cruising through my day, feeling relatively happy, when out of nowhere I will start worrying about something. It’s stupid, I know, but I sometimes feel almost helpless to stop it.
Also, and not coincidentally, I don’t give the worry to God. I don’t say, “God, I am worrying and it’s infecting this whole day you gave me.” I might talk to God about the thing I’m worrying about, like finances, my job, or even my marriage, but I rarely go, “ JC, I am addicted to the act of worrying.”
There’s always the soft voice in the back of my head saying stuff like, “Be still and know that I am God.” And sometimes a voice will say, “Hey you cute dumbass, what in the world does worrying help you do?” The second voice sounds exactly like my wife, by the way.
But doesn’t everybody worry? It seems like it’s normal to worry, right?
My family are worriers. I think we always have been. I believe it has been passed down through many generations, but I saw it at an early age in my grandma’s eyes. She thought everything could end badly. If you talked to her about her life she would say things like, “Life is hard, but God is good and He’ll get you through the tough times.”
She’d say stuff like that even if you were in the ice cream aisle at the grocery store.
For her life was scary, it was hard, and it would kill you. Now my grandma lived through some really bad times in American history, but she allowed that fear to dictate how she lived her life. That attitude caused my dad to be a worrier and because of that it got to me.
On the other hand, my mom is the exact opposite. She can do anything she wants and lives her life pretty wild and free – or at least that’s how it seemed to me. Later in life I realized my mom would do as she pleased, but in her quiet thoughts she was as much of a worrier as my dad. The difference was that her worries played out as regrets. She would make lavish purchases or commit to doing too many things and instead of handling it well she would wait ’til the last minute to deal with the situation. Many times it would end up with her becoming defensive and extremely upset.
So here I am, the product of those two pro worriers.
Now I have gotten really good at hiding my worry. I even say the right things about how it’s bad and how this emotion just reveals the control issues I have with not turning things over to God. I’ve got the theology and the lingo down. But as we all know, we are a little different at twelve midnight, when the house is quiet and dark and we’re laying in bed with nothing but our thoughts. In fact, I sometimes wonder who’s more real, the public or private version of myself.
So this worry came to a head a few years back when it actually started to give me physical symptoms. I would have blurred vision and become nauseated. Sometimes I even thought I was having serious heart trouble. Exactly the type of person you want working at church, right?
So at this point I knew I needed to do something.
A doctor prescribed me pills, but to be honest, I didn’t want to take a pill in order to fight my sin. Now I believe that pills work, and I will most likely still need to take different ones in the future, but I just wanted to at least try to give this to God.
So that’s where I’m at. I’m not there yet, and this isn’t a redemption story. In fact, just today I really thought I might have something wrong with my heart and that I could be in real trouble. I’ve even had my heart seriously checked in the last few years. Thankfully, it looks pretty good. But I have a lot on my plate right now and I am letting the worry affect my body.
So I thought I’d get this out on paper.
I am thinking more about “what if’s” than Jesus.
I am thinking I have to work out all this stuff in my life or I am going to let my family down.
I am thinking that I am really going to screw up and it’s going to get bad.
I have to realize that all those things might be true. I have to realize that things sometimes go wrong and that I will mess up. But I also have to realize that even if I do fail or if I do have something wrong with my heart I cannot let the thought of that steal my joy in Jesus Christ. I can’t let our bills be an idol, because they really are just a cruel god and they will try to kill me.
It’s Jesus, and He is where I find my peace and joy.
But that’s nothing more than a sentence until I repeat that and live it out tonight at 12:14am. I’ll keep you updated.