Posted by wlebolt
My friend says, “I am not a worrier.” Is that possible? Real? True?
Worry and I have known each other a long time. I can’t say I don’t worry. Can’t say I won’t worry. Worry butts in every now and then and, actually, I think that is a healthy thing for me now. But it hasn’t always been that way.
Worry used to:
- have me predicting a negative future I had no facts to support or
- have me imagining a fictional horror story about my child who was late coming home
- stop me from starting something that held great promise but came with significant risk
Yes. I have a worry button that has launched me into all these places. Still do. But I know its secret. It’s a signal. An alarm. Like the back up beep in my new techno-advanced car. It lets me know I am close to something I don’t want to hit or heading in a direction I may not want to go. This is okay with me. I am happy to have the heads-up.
Then I can decide whether to acknowledge the alarm and slow down, turn more sharply, or avoid the object in my blind spot. Decide rather than react. Reaction has me slamming on the breaks or stomping on the gas. Deciding allows me to maneuver.
This takes me to a conversation I had a while back with my then middle school aged daughter. We had just listened to a sermon by Tom, our pastor, who confessed that his cholesterol was way too high. Now, this man is exceedingly thin – some might say gaunt – but is known for his propensity to eat in large quantities. My daughter and I do not tend toward natural thinness; we wear what we eat.
“Aren’t we lucky,” I told her, “the scale tells us when our eating has been less than healthy. Tom has to wait for the blood work.”
I see the worry button as somewhat akin to the scale. Except it’s built in. It alerts us when something demands our attention. We can lay on the button and rush headlong into I-have-do-something-now mode or we can ignore it and let the chips fall as they may. Either of these can have dire consequences. Because it’s part of me, been placed in me by the Hand that created me, I don’t think it’s meant for either of these.
It is there to get my attention, but it’s accessible to the world. It has to be if I want to respond to the needs of the world. But I need to guard it. Because a powerful hand that is not God’s can push it. And the old conversations start again…he’s gonna say this, she’s gonna do this, you need to set them straight, this might be embarrassing…
The old conversations return. I hear them whispering to me. But I am not beholden to those old conversations. I can choose to turn off the button, flip the switch and say, nope, not responding to that alarm. But to shut it off before I hear the siren call of demise means I have to be extremely tuned in. I have to turn up the sensation on my worry alarm. This leaves me more sensitive to needs, even my own. Things hurt me. Sounds deafen me. Words offend me.
But this is the place of honest hearing. Where I hear the whisper that says, “Wendy, this needs your attention. You haven’t spoken this. You need to clean this up. You must write this, call them, submit this.” This voice I recognize as the One who works all things for my good, but chooses never to force me to comply.
He created me with a worry button with one face exposed to the world. The other face of it is His to tap. To turn my attention to Him and what He loves. And that includes me.