Why did I let my mind go there AGAIN?
There I stood in my kitchen swiping at the tears rolling down my face. Was I crying about something that had just happened? No. I was sobbing over a horrible mental movie generated in my mind about one of my girls getting into a fatal car accident while she drove to her friend’s house.
That movie was so graphic, so real that I could have won Academy Awards for best actress, screenplay, and special effects. I felt like I was at the accident scene and I could see myself running and screaming toward a mangled car with hazy smoke rising from the wreck. I could feel the EMTs pulling me away from my child as they said, “Ma’am, she’s gone. Let her go, ma’am.” I heard my screams in my mind. Why does this feel so real even though it is only in my mind?
Then I snap back to reality. My heart is pounding and there are real tears running down my face. I’m worn out. I feel guilty and foolish. Guilty because I’ve imagined something that has really happened to others, but not me. Foolish because I should know better. “Com’on Barb! You’ve made yourself upset over something that wasn’t even real.”
Do you ever make up horrible movies in your mind about getting in fatal car accidents or losing your kids at the zoo? I do. Author Lenore Skenazy calls our tendency to jump to the worst-case scenario “worst first thinking.” As a Christian woman, I knew that I should pray and not worry, but I still worried anyways. Why didn’t “just pray about it” work for me? If I’m being honest, sometimes, I felt like a bad Christian.
Over the years, my fears and worries often manifest themselves into a few different kinds of behaviors. Here’s a four different kinds of worriers. Which one fits you?
- Silent Sufferer – Stuffs fear and worries and doesn’t say a word
- Mother Hen – Persistent phone calls, texts, long lectures and nagging
- Control Freak – Strongly suggests, overpowers or manipulates others
- Busy Body – Can’t leave anything undone so overworks to feel calmer
Which one of these are you? I’m a recovering third-generation control freak and mother hen. We do worry in my family real good. Years ago, God led me on a journey toward away from fear and worry. This experience came in the form of a painful situation that I couldn’t control and there was no way out of that situation except to go through it.
One of the things that I’ve learned when battling fear and worry is clinging to the truth of God’s word and learning from the people in the Bible. I love the these words from Moses in Exodus 14:14: “The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Even as the Israelites faced Pharaoh’s army on one side and the Red Sea on another, Moses’ reminded them that God was going to show up and take care of them. Moses’ words remind me, too.
If you can, read Moses’ words again and think about what you’re worried about today. Whether you’re dealing with a health condition that cannot be healed, a loved one who won’t get help, a financial hole that hurts, God can fight in ways that you cannot.
Did you need to hear Moses’ words today? I want to encourage you to use your Bible or favorite Bible app to look up verses in the Bible with the phrases “do not fear,” “be strong and courageous,” and God’s love. My friend, you don’t have live in worst-case scenario thinking. God is fighting for you right now! I wan to invite you to talk with God right now. If you need words, you can use these:
Dear God, I am so stressed out by fear and worry. There are so many things happening in my life and I can’t fix them or control them.