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Is Worrying Working For You?

worried woman

Someone recently said to me, “worrying is like worshipping the problem.”


This stopped me in my tracks and challenged me to think… How often do I worry? What do I worry about the most? Does worrying get me anywhere? How does worrying serve anything, and why do I continue to do it?!! 

 

If there is one thing I would give up in my life, it’s worry. I can recall many times that I worried endlessly about something, or someone, and the outcome was nothing like I had worried about—good or bad.  

 

When Worry Takes Over

A while back, I created and organized a large event called “Tremendous Love” for all the church congregations in my community. The worry challenges began immediately with trying to meet the schedules of all the members of various worship bands, working with sound technicians who needed perfection, tackling seating challenges to accommodate the number of people that had confirmed, meeting deadlines for logoed water bottles and props for the event, communicating with all the pastors—and their assistants—to make sure the event would be announced every Sunday (including handing out flyers with my name all over them)… and on and on it went for a solid four months.

 

The worry of having everything come together perfectly for the event to be successful possessed me—sleepless nights became my unfortunate norm. I allowed the fear of protecting my reputation and credibility haunt me, which kept me from connecting the way I’m known for: with 100% vulnerability and authenticity. I lived in a daily state of worry that sucked all my time and energy away from any fun to be had, detracting from the “why” I was planning this event in the first place.

 

The days leading up to the event picked up speed—phones ringing off the hook with more people confirming their attendance. “Tremendous Love” had become the buzz throughout the community! I wanted so badly to share the excitement with everyone, but I couldn’t feel much of anything because I was numb. I was buried under the worry rock that I had willingly put myself under. Four months of survival, combined with sleepless nights of worry, had taken its toll.

 

I rose early on the day of the event to a complete white out; snow was violently pounding down over the entire Big Bear community. The phones started ringing off the hook, inquiring if the event was cancelled, and my coordinating team began to panic because the scheduled set up time was NOW and the snow just kept coming.

 

Worry consumed me; I was the one to make the final decision if the “show should go on” or not. I sat paralyzed in a corner, staring out the window while fielding phone calls and desperately hoping the snow would cease. 

 

My worry became increasingly heightened as I feared either “pulling the plug,” or the possible dangers in pushing forward. That’s when the worship bands called to let me know they couldn’t make it up the mountain—there were too many rockslides and traffic collisions. In that moment, I knew “Tremendous Love” needed to be cancelled.


It took me a while to pick up the pieces of disappointment, and to look at how much time and energy I had wasted in worrying about the small stuff. I was so consumed in the minutiae that I hadn’t stopped to worry about the possibility of Mother Nature dictating the outcome. 


This was a big learning moment for me. It has helped me catch my worrying quickly and turn it into a surrender, with the reminder that I am not in control.


I now refuse to miss out on the fun that’s available, and I never let worry dictate my mood, how I live my life, how I connect with others, and how I spend my precious time and energy every day. Worrying lost the battle in ripping me off of the things that truly matter.


Tips to Keep Worry From Winning:

  • Have a deliberate focus on gratitude. Before you get up in the morning and start your day, lay in bed and think of at least 3 things you're grateful for.

  •  Recall the times you set out to do something that seemed impossible and aced it!

  •  If needed, allow yourself a twenty minute “worry period” each day, ideally at the same time and in the same space. When the twenty minutes is up, it’s time to step into the “worry free zone” and freely go about your day.

  •  If you still feel worry nagging at you, write it down in detail. It takes time and is harder than holding the worry in your head continuing to dwell on the problem. You will find that worry will begin to lose its power, and often a clearer balance and perspective will have the opportunity to emerge. 

  •  Look at life’s bigger picture and ask yourself how much of your precious day, week, month or year you’re willing to allow worry to continue being the exhausting time and energy suck that keeps you from fun, joy, and truly living.

 

Ask yourself this question every day: If today was your last day, how do you choose to live it?
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