Last night as I was climbing into bed my prayer was a request for help with worrying. Usually I am not a big worrier--I'm optimistic by nature and typically expect good things to happen. And good things almost always do. But perhaps because of the major changes in my life over the last several months--my son going to college for the first time, my daughter having a baby, my youngest son growing 8 inches in a year and suddenly discovering girls (!)--I have noticed an increase in the worry refrain in my not-so-conscious thoughts. I worry about my daughter driving with the baby to the bank by herself. I worry about my son getting overly tired when he stays up til 5:00am writing papers. I worry about my youngest wanting to go to a different high school where he will be the "new kid."
All of these are normal, natural parts of growing up (for them and for me). But the after-effects left me in a pattern of worrying. And worry is more than wasted energy--it creates fearful images of what might happen (thinking the worse) and projects them outward as though they could be a reality. And what's worse is that I might then believe that the worries are real and change my actions based on them, which can impact the messages I give to my kids about the goodness of life, my hope for the future, or my belief in the care of God.
So last night, my prayer was that somehow (God knows how) I might be released from this unnatural, unpeaceful worried state. I know God doesn't want me walking around with a low-grade worry fever, a kind of fear-based static that keeps me on my toes, watchful, anticipating something scary. That's just not God's way of doing things. From what I believe about God and God's world, there is a harmony, a loving harmony, in which all things work together for our good. We are loved and cared for and safe. This is the opposite of worry. Last night I prayed to remember what is real about God and to release the fearful thought forms I was creating by losing touch with my belief of the constancy of God's care.
This morning I awoke with energy and joy. One of the first thoughts in my head was, "If life really is a smorgasbord, what would I choose for myself today?" What an empowering thought! If I can choose anything I want for today, what would I serve myself? Joy, comfort, care, peace. Remembrance of God. A happy family and loving neighbors. Meaningful work. A sense of care and comfort for the world.
My hope for you today is that, if you find yourself in the clutches of worry, you will let God heal your worried mind and remind you how much you are loved. And then you will be free to choose the best parts from the smorgasbord your life is offering you right now!