Admittedly, I’m a bit of a worrier. Not of the perpetual furrowed brow, constant handwringing variety per say, but I do have a fairly regular level of concern. Being single, that’s kind of a given. In terms of income, you’re it. Reconciling bills, you have to do it. Unexpected pricey repair for the car, well, it gets you too and from where you earn the income, so you have to figure it out. As you can tell from my last post, my living wide life has been more living day-to-day as best I can, and a lot of that has to do with worry.
Quite a few storms have rumbled into my world recently, but instead of blowing through quickly, they’ve stalled. If I could draw a cartoon of myself (believe me, you don’t want me to try), it would look something like a completely drenched girl with a gray, violent cloud over her head from which lightening strikes out periodically as a zinging reminder that, yep, it’s still there.
Now, generally, I handle stress pretty well, but when there’s no preamble to a storm, when it starts at a deluge and doesn’t let up, unfortunately, even keel kind of goes out the window. And where worry was once creeping in through a few small leaks in the roof, now it’s an unadulterated pummeling because, well, there was no roof anymore. I was worrying so much, in fact, that I was worried about how much I was worrying. I know, I know… vicious cycle.
The thing about being worried, especially when in a worrisome situation, is that people around me begin to worry sympathetically. Trust me, my circumstance did warrant it, and those around me weren’t just being supportive; they had concerns of their own. The issue was that the collective worrying began to self fulfill and spawn a whole host of bad juju, like paranoia, emotions I’m sure swirled round and round the bottom of Pandora’s box.
One day, at yet another collective worry session, I hit a wall. I simply could not worry about one more thing. Big, small, it didn’t matter, there was no room left at the inn. I looked at the people around me as they speculated and spit-balled, and realized, this is kind of pointless. There we were, trying to crystal ball some outcomes, trying to define the unknown variables, when truthfully, the dominos were already falling. The best we could do was navigate the present and not try to predict the height of the waves or the pitch of the ocean.
One of my favorite stories about Jesus is chronicled in a couple of different books of the Bible. He and the disciples were on a boat in the middle of horrific storm, and Jesus, unconcerned, was asleep. The disciples woke him because they were scared, and, invariably, he calmed the storm to appease their worry. But notice, he wasn’t worried. He was so not worried that he was asleep. He knew that particular moment was scary, yes, but his father, God, was going to get him through it, while Jesus’ disciples, not yet quite as sure, worried.
To be honest, I wasn’t exactly thinking of this story when I hit the wall, but when I did, I realized something. The only thing you can control in a circumstance that is worrisome is how you react to it. You can’t control someone’s behavior, choices or actions, but you can control how you respond. So, basically, stop trying to be hyper offensive to avoid being defensive. Be aware, don’t be naive, but don’t be a slave to the “coulds,” of life. Rest in the fact that someone far more capable than you has “got this,” and you can rest easy in the fact that you had faith enough to get in the boat with him.