Okay, I admit it. Worrying comes natural for me. In fact I will actually admit that at times I am addicted to worrying. As I progressed from parenthood to grandparenthood my worrying accelerated. When my babies laed cuddled in the warmth of blankets, I worried that they might suffocate. It continued when they went to school for the first time (all 5 of them.) . I would worry about whether the other kids would be nice to them or if my child would be a social outcast. On and on it went through the teen years and into adulthood.
Recently I became a worry wart when our soldier son, Joseph, who is serving in Afghanistan called to say he had hurt his back and ribs and was in a medical tent facility. He told us that due to the injury he was scheduled to come home. “Oh no” I thought “what if his injury is permanent? What if it is disabling? What if our 22 year old son comes home to live forever?”
Worry was my constant companion that day. Finally I got out my “Worry Wart” first-aid ideas and started to apply them.
1. WORSE TO WORSE. I found it helpful to ask myself how I would survive if worse came to worse. I got out a paper and faced the possibility of having him come home disabled for life. I wrote what life might be like if that happened and included a list of the positive and negative experiences that might occur. As usual I found that if worse came to worse it wouldn’t really be the end of the year and I felt reassured that if that was my lot, God would help me. He helped Moses and Joseph and Noah…he would help me find the support and strength I needed.
2. BUG SPRAY. They say that where there is one ant there are many more nearby. I have found that once my “worry glands” get activated they multiply; I had been using Facebook messaging to keep in touch with Joseph nearly every day! Then for 6 days after Christmas we heard nothing. During that time, other bugs and worries popped up. Things like my relationship with family members, my housework, my office work etc. My worries snowballed and rolled down the mountain of my mind. Finally one morning I sat down to do some cognitive therapy. I wrote all the things that were bugging me, my worries and anything else I could think of that was negative. I then decided whether they were things I had total, partial or no control over. After that I was able to prayerfully give them to the Lord or do something to resolve them.
1. I haven’t heard from Joseph-no control-I will pray for him
2. I don’t feel close to my friend now-partial control-I can call and talk to her.
…You get the idea.
3. FRIEND THERAPY. Sometimes paperwork wasn’t enough and I had to find someone to brainstorm with. In my cell phone I have a list of people I can do this with. I labeled it “friend therapy” and included the names of people I felt I could confide in, brainstorm with etc. Often my friends shed light and hope on a fearful situations.
4.QUOTE POWER. My friend, Darla, helped me come up with a list of quotes that soothed and calmed my soul.
1. What God brings us to, He’ll help us through
2. God knows how things will turn out. I can trust in him.
3. If worse comes to worse…it won’t be the worst
4. All things work together for good to them that love the Lord
5. Let them worship how where or what they may
Our Son is home now. He is living with us and going to school. He is able to function quite normally with minimal pain pills after sustaining a back injury in Afghanistan. I don’t know how long he will be here but instead of feeling a source of fear, I feel trust. Because I was able to face worse to worse, do cognitive therapy, turn to friends for support and use quote power I feel the strength I need from day to day.
As we move forward in through this experience and others I know that by the grace of God, when faith replaces worry I am able to move forward (at least for this moment in the year 2013!)