I don’t know what it is about the mind of a woman, but it seems like we struggle with worry way more than our male counterparts. Our female psyche is able to simultaneously think of 75 different outcomes for every decision and situation. Usually 90% of them are ways things could go wrong. Or ways they already have gone wrong. Or ways something else could go wrong based on the first thing that went wrong and then probably Armageddon would just happen. And then if there were still dinosaurs they would all die. Again.
We have the ability to think of a million different things at once. Our brains are like an intricately placed game of dominoes. One thought leads to another, leads to another, leads to another…
So on the one hand, our domino-like brain is a blessing because it allows us to set up all these little components of life, keep them nice and straight. It allows us to multitask. To remember our final test, our church youth group, our families, the birthday of every person you have ever met, what time soccer practice is, our entire grocery list in alphabetical order, and the list goes on… It also means that we have the talent to foresee how all of those things could go terribly wrong. And heaven forbid something actually does go wrong and one domino gets knocked over. But if one domino gets knocked over…what happens to the rest of our carefully placed dominoes, our plans, our dreams, our LIFE?
So why do we worry, especially if it just leads our minds into chaos? I ask myself this all the time. Why do I worry? And obviously the answer is always, “Well, I worry that if I don’t worry that no one else will worry about the things that need to be worried about. Who will come up with the backup plan? I mean, if I don’t worry then who will take over running around like a chicken with their head cut off, borrowing trouble for everyone and everything, and naturally assuming the worst?”
Please excuse me while I wildly overreact. Great. Obviously everyone needs one of those crazies in their life. If you’re life is currently missing one, just call me, I am the resident exaggerator.
So, do we worry because we don’t know what to do? What decision to make? If we already made the wrong one? Do we worry because we don’t know what the future may bring? Or because what if the timing is wrong? Or what if we’re not ready for the next step? Or what if I miss my chance? Or what if the world ends before we all get to get married?! Oh the horror… THE HORROR!
It sounds really pointless and impractical when it’s laid out there like that. Or at least it should. Worrying always makes a lot of sense while I’m in the middle of it, but then when I step back… it starts to look a little different. I begin to realize I don’t actually run the planet and am not responsible for the welfare of all. Sure, some of those were really silly examples, and I know that in life we all have much bigger, more painful and scary things that often occupy our worries. And yes, those ones are usually a lot harder to put down… But Jesus actually knows how to handle those kind of worries as well:
“Then, turning to his disciples Jesus said, ‘That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life- whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feed them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the word, but your Father already knows your needs.’” (Luke 12:22-30)
Jesus had a lot to say about worry. And usually I have a lot to tell Him about my worry…
However, what I have come to realize, through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, is that your entire life could seem like it was going down the toilet and God would still be there. God would still be in control. He hasn’t left you alone, even in what seems like the darkest, most out of control times. Because the key word is SEEMS. God’s perspective is so much bigger than ours, His knowledge so much richer.
When I begin to worry I don’t usually set out with the intention of making God small or inept… but that’s always what I end up doing. Every time I start hyper-analyzing my life away, worrying not only about today but also yesterday, tomorrow, about you, about me, about everyone… it’s basically like I’m telling God that I don’t trust Him to take care of me (or anyone else). Or that I don’t trust in His promise to ALWAYS be there.
He isn’t leaving you. He didn’t design us to look at our entire life and try to plan the whole thing out in our day-planners. God doesn’t need your backup plans.
What’s more, He designed us to follow HIM. He gave you one minute at a time for a reason. This second is what is yours. Don’t borrow trouble from a future you don’t have yet when all you have is right now. There are going to be hiccups in your plan. Your plan actually might completely fall apart, but God doesn’t.
Stop worrying about the plan and take every minute as God lays it before you. Know that it IS God who will bring you to where you need to be. Not your plan. Not your worry. Sometimes our plans need to fall apart for His to truly unfold. When that happens (and eventually it will) don’t take that as an invitation to second-guess every decision you’ve ever made or second-guess the God who made you. Take it as an invitation to TRUST the God who formed and knows your heart. The God who hung the stars and carved out the Grand Canyon. He doesn’t leave you to fend for yourself when it seems like the wolves are creeping in (or when all your dominoes have fallen over).
You don’t HAVE to worry. What’s more, you don’t have to micromanage God! God is giving you permission, He is even begging you to lay down the burden or worry and find joy and wonder in today. In what you have right now. Have faith that even if you don’t know how things will work out, that He does.
You don’t have to worry about it. He’s bringing you to where you need to be. Let Him write your story.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.” (Luke 12:31)