Joy

Staying out of the pit of “what if”

I am a worrier by nature.  I worry about what I wear, and how I look, and about what I feed myself and my kids.  I worry that I am making bad decisions and that I am messing all our lives up.  And I worry that one day I am going to look back and wonder what I was thinking.  The thoughts, “what if I should have done this?” or “what if I should have said that?” run through my head at least a dozen times a day.  I am a worrier!

Every time Ben was diagnosed with cancer I spent countless hours wondering if we were making the wrong choice regarding treatment.  And when he passed away last August, I wracked my brain with what ifs.  What if I hadn’t taken him to the VA Hospital, what if we hadn’t cut back on the steroids to help him walk, what if we hadn’t given him this or that med, and most importantly, what if I had fought harder for them to give him the meds he needed at the hospital sooner.

I don’t know about you, but I spend countless hours worrying and thinking about how I handle things in life and trying to decide if things would turn out differently if I make a different choice.  At times, I find myself completely beat down by the “what ifs.”  I find myself unable to act because “what if” I make the wrong decision?

If there is anything I have learned on this journey it is that we can’t live in the pit of what ifs.  Matthew 6:27 says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”  No amount of wondering “what if” will change what has already happened and is in the past.  And deep down I believe that God orders our steps.  Nothing we do is going to change His divine order of things.  And while I can waste time worrying about what could have been, it isn’t going to change the outcome of things.  It may just cause me to miss out on some of the present.

The story of Martha in the Bible has always fascinated me.  She accomplished a lot, but worried about things that didn’t matter.  She stressed because she was working alone while her sister was sitting at Jesus’ feet.  When she complained, Jesus reminded her that what she was worried about didn’t matter, and that her sister was choosing the better route (Luke 10:38-42).

Matthew 6_34

Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  The things I worry about don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.  And worrying about them isn’t going change the outcome.   In addition to letting go of fear this year, I am on a mission to learn to let go of worries, and resurrect myself from the pit of “what if.”  I have lived there way too long and know that the sun shines so much brighter when I am able to see it with my feet planted firmly on level ground.

If like me you are a worrier, I encourage you to make a list of everything that you worry about.  Truly look at that list and ask yourself whether worrying about it is going to change the outcome or make one difference in how the situation turns out. Pray over each of those things and let them go.  You will live so much happier and full of joy if you do.

***And if you find you relate with Martha from the story of Mary and Martha, I encourage you to look for the book, Make Like Martha by Katie M. Reid.  It is a fantastic book about overcoming worry and living in faith (while getting things done).  It comes out in July 2018.  I have been lucky enough to read an advance reader copy and am thankful for the new perspective it is giving me on letting go of worry!

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