When worry becomes a magic charm….

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Are you working today or is President’s Day a holiday in your world?

We are kind of both today.

It is a holiday but Russ had to go in for a while to do some things so I am semi-holiday mode and semi-regular day mode which means I am still in my pj’s but have started the Monday laundry chores.

We are in the second week of a short series called “Be Anxious for Nothing” at our church and I am taking it to heart so at least for a few days…and maybe the whole week…we are going to visit this a little bit.

I come from a long line of worriers who wish they weren’t.

My mom used to send a weekly letter…typed margin to margin…front and back…in quadruplicate…to my sister, my aunt and her husband, my uncle and his wife, and to my family.

It updated us on all the details of every day the past week including food eaten, appointments kept and places and friends seen. 

I am not kidding. 

Every. Week.

At the top she often penned a handwritten note with an encouraging verse or quote that basically said to let go and let God handle things…but the letter was filled with anxiety and worry. 

Typed line after typed line. 

Bless her heart.

And yet, so often I have done the same. 

As I have been working through the material for this week’s study, I faced the question and concept that was shared in the sermon this past Sunday.

Based on an article in Psychology Today, our pastor explored the theory that we somehow along the way in our lives begin to assign to worry the capacity to actually keep us from the thing we are worrying about. 

I am certain there are some easy-breezy folks out there that shake their head at the insanity of such an idea ..but I am one who nodded her head because it resonates deep within me. 

I can pinpoint in the development of my own perspective on navigating life that around the age of ten, I started to notice something. 

I was in fourth grade and living in a smallish town in Kentucky. 

Neighborhoods were linked together with fairly safe roads for a kid to ride her bike and as I began to be given more freedom to head off on my own for an afternoon of play, I found that some days my mom was not at all concerned where I was and other days she would need me for something and would begin calling for me to come home. 

Besides the capacity to worry, we Ploch/Lochner descendants are blessed with voices that carry a country mile so if I was out of ear shot….I was too far from home. 

If she had tried to rally me and I didn’t respond, the result was that she was full of angst when I returned.

I had “worried her sick” and the consequences produced a large amount of guilt in me as all maladies for the next several hours or days could be attributed to my being out and about and not letting her know where I was.

So I would begin to worry and check back in to see if she had called for me…and she never had. 

All was well.

She had been sewing or cleaning or doing whatever she did while I was traipsing around the neighborhood and I could go back out and be free for awhile. 

Except I wasn’t free. 

Because just like the report in that magazine, I began to connect that my worrying was somehow the magic charm that kept her from being upset with me. 

If I was carefree and having fun exploring the creek with a friend, that was the time I didn’t hear her calling…but if I fretted and kept a low-level guilt on the back burner while I played…that seemed to be the ticket. 

And it became a life-long pattern.

Worry – and everything will be fine.

Don’t worry – and face the consequences which are usually quite heavy.

I am not blaming my mom for this.

I probably would have been wiser to learn the discipline of time management and making sure I was working within her expectations for checking in, but instead I made a magic charm out of “worry.”

In an odd way, worry became my little g-god….and it’s been a hard habit to break. 

But praise my Big-G God…He is always in the business of helping me grow up. 

How about you? 

Is there any way that God may be trying to get you to see that you have allowed a little-g god like fear, dread or worry to replace Him on the throne of your heart? 

It is time to grow up and obey God when He says….

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Philippians 4:6 The Message

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