Worry builds on worry.
I have no doubt in the truth of that statement. Worry leads to doubt and more worry, it leads to putting time and energy into thinking through every possible thing that could go wrong, which leads to more things that we can worry about.
A little worry is a healthy thing. We get concerned about something, we take action to rectify the concern and we move on. If that is the only kind of worry you have ever experienced then it may be difficult for you to imagine another. For some people worry goes much further: into every remote possibility, every conceivable consequence, every far-fetched explanation.
In trying to explain what I mean I’m reminded of an episode late in the run of The West Wing. The election has arrived, people are voting and the staff of one of the candidates spend the day worrying and writing speeches. They begin with a speech for if they lose and one for if they win: sounds reasonable. Then they add speeches for winning whilst losing their home state and one for winning with their home state, then losing but winning their home state. As the day goes on they write more and more speeches for various possible outcomes until at last the results come in and they can finally stop worrying.
Those characters had a stressful day and then moved on, but what if you lived your whole life like that. What if you weighed every decision like that, what if you analysed every conversation for the dozen different meanings it might have. Some people live like that, worrying about everything, anxious about everything. Trouble is, worry leads to worry, it is a cycle, a trap.
I have spent more time trapped in this particular trap than I can even begin to put a number to but I have learn’t a few things along the way.
- You will never be in control of everything.
- You will never know everything.
- You will never understand everything.
- God adores you, he will help you if you let him.
You need to learn to accept and even enjoy these four truths.
The most helpful book I have ever found on the subject (The Worry Book – Wil van der Hart, Rob Waller) is one written by two authors, a Church leader and a Psychiatrist. It is a book which mixes the teachings of the bible, and, research and understanding from secular sources on how the mind works.
If your life is ruled by worry and anxiety, if you spend energy you don’t have worrying about every remote possibility and taking every conceivable precaution, I want you to know your life can get better. You can know peace and learn to relax and let God be God. It may not be an easy journey but it is one that is so worth taking.