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Take a good look at this picture, friend.  We passed this truck and two others like it on Hefner Parkway on the way to camp on Monday.  Ridiculous, right?  (It’s okay.  I had Hope take the picture.)

This is what worry feels like.  I ought to know.  Worry is my sin of choice.  Yes, I said “sin.”  At one time, I excused this habit as natural.  Then I realized that all sin comes naturally.  That should have been a big red flag!

Instead, I’ve embraced it, laughed about it, and practiced it until it has became a big part of who I am.  I now understand that worry is nothing more than a feeble attempt to control things I have decided are too big for God.  It is evidence that my faith is lacking and that my eyes have drifted, like Peter’s, from my Savior to the sea.

I know this.  I see the sin and I hate it for the static it causes in my relationship with God.  I loathe the paralysis it inflicts.

Still, I go there.

Over and over and over again, I slip into worry like a bubble bath, finding temporary and incomplete comfort in its warm familiarity.  I’m sure that people with other sin issues assume that I could never in a million years understand their sin problem, their addiction, their infidelity, their greed, etc.  I do.  Sin is sin because of what it does to a person’s relationship with God.  According to Scripture, one is as dark as the next, and I don’t judge you.  I hurt with you.

Here’s the thing about worry.  It doesn’t start out that way.  It begins with a legitimate–or in my case, potential–concern that requires a certain amount of practical thought and planning.  If I’m going to be a good wife, a good mother, a good friend, a good teacher, a responsible writer, etc., then I should anticipate and prepare at the start, evaluate and regroup as things progress, and reflect at the end so that I don’t let an opportunity to grow and improve pass me by, right?

The problem is that somewhere in there, instead of letting the Holy Spirit open my eyes to what He sees as important, seeking His wisdom, submitting to His plan, and trusting Him to work all things together for my good and His glory, I get twisted up.  My eyes chase the rabbits that are my own thoughts; I let the enemy fill my head with doubts and what if’s; I make decisions based half on what I think God probably wants and half on what sounds reasonable to me (which is total disobedience, by the way); and I fret, entertaining vain imaginings like dear friends.

Ridiculous?  Yes, but some of you know what I’m talking about.  If so, let me make you feel better about yourself.  A year or so ago, I had a swollen lymph node in my neck.  Within two hours, I was outlining a series of videos that I was going to make for my children to watch on their birthdays, their wedding days, the day that each of their children were born, etc. after my death.

You think I’m kidding.

My most recent bout with worry happened just this morning.  Hope is going on a mission trip, and I’m not going with her.  I won’t even tell you all of the things that have been going through my head concerning that trip.  That would take too long and might be even more embarrassing than telling you about my puffy lymph node!

Suffice it to say that I was in a tailspin, so much so that I posted a request for encouragement and prayer on Facebook.   Thankfully, many loved and trusted friends responded with wisdom and encouragement without judgment, reminding me of what I knew to be true, that God was in control, that He wanted to use Hope to bless others, that she was a smart girl, that this trip could be the beginning of something big for Hope, and that she would have a wonderful time…if only her mother would STOP WORRYING!

I went to the Prayer Gardens to pray.  While I was there, God brought this truck to mind (I had taken the pics with another blog in mind).  I realized worry is not a burden that I was ever meant to carry, just as this little truck was not built to carry a refrigerator.  In taking it on, I have been hurting myself and others.  My wake-up call was Hope’s waning enthusiasm and fearful expression. Lord forgive us for what we do to our kids! What’s more, I had left no room in my heart for anything else.

I began to pray, giving my baby to God just as I’ve done so many times before.  As I prayed, the load began to lift, and God filled my heart with other things for which there’d been no room for before, gratitude for Hope’s salvation and desire to serve Him, happiness for the kids who were going to get to spend time with my sweet girl, anticipation of the stories she will have to tell when she gets back, a deep desire to take part in her trip from a distance through prayer, and peace…supernatural peace.

Once again, God has lifted me out of my tailspin, and my heart is light.

Friend, if you find yourself struggling under the weight of a load you were never meant to bear, let me encourage you as others have encouraged me.  Let go.  Let God.

He is able and faithful.  No worries.

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