Could Placemats Keep My Kids Off Drugs? (And other worries that keep me up at night) (Part I in the Worry series)

I had a very productive time of worrying today.

I did!

I spent an hour or two worrying about my children and their lives have definitely shown improvement.

I spent another hour fretting over our finances and, guess what? Big difference in our bank account, baby!

Finally, I spent some time getting worked up about my weight, my health, my marriage and my husband’s career. I can now report that I am thinner, I’m stronger, my husband’s business prospered and he even promised me a romantic evening in gratitude for all the worrying I’ve done on our behalf.

OK, that’s not really what happened.

But, you knew that.

Because you’ve spent hours of your life worrying, too, and not a moment of it has served to produce one good thing in your life.

In fact, for me, there have been some seriously unpleasant results from worrying – frown lines, acid reflux and TMJ to name a few. Not to mention the toll that voicing my worries has taken on certain close relationships in my life that will go unnamed in order to protect – well – me.

God tells me (and you, too) not to worry. He says it pretty clearly, too.

I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the direct command not to worry in the Sermon on the Mount (“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry!” Yup, it’s clear even in the original Greek!). There’s even a precursor to this command in the Old Testament. In Psalm 37,God repeats His directive over and over saying “Do not fret.”

Boy, He’s got me there. I’ve got more frets than a guitar factory!

So, I know God has told me not to do it. I know it produces unfavorable results in the departments of health, relationships and sanity. And I know it doesn’t change a darn thing so WHY DO I DO IT? What’s the payoff? There must be something in it for me that I keep on worrying, right?

Well, first, let me blame Satan. That’s a no-brainer. None of you are arguing with me here. Satan is there whispering in my ear from the moment I wake up until the moment I can’t fall asleep – reminding me of all that can go wrong in life and offering me the sweet temptation to fret about it.

Of course, God’s given me weapons that work to silence Satan – namely an assault rifle loaded with the ammo of truth known as Scripture. I could defend myself from Satan’s temptation with that. I mean, it is the weapon utilized by Jesus in the desert. So what’s good enough for Him should really work just fine for me, right?

Second, I blame the media. Again, I’m not hearing any objections. You’re all with me, aren’t you? From the morning shows to commercials to Nightline, most of television is aimed right at my gut, the heart of my insecurity, my sleepless, waking pit of fears. Have I got enough insurance? Am I emitting offensive odors? Are my teeth white enough? Is my daughter at risk from a cyber-stalker? Are there signs that my husband has a serious illness? Will my son suddenly commit a violent crime because I let him play video games? Could placemats keep my kids off drugs? What if I put them on tray tables in the living room?

And it isn’t just television but all forms of media. NPR has a news report about the possible danger that growing older could lead to death! The magazine I pick up at the doctor’s office tells me that one of the ten easiest ways to pick up a virus is from picking up magazines in doctor’s offices. The novel I’m reading tells the harrowing adventure of a woman trapped by her own fears – wait, no, that’s my diary. Never mind.

So, maybe I can be more selective about my media consumption and more prayerfully aware of the daily assault of these messages on my spirit. Yeah, that could help.

But, the third problem is the hardest to overcome, I mean, I haven’t really got much to go on for modeling a life free from worry. Most of the people I know are plagued with this same problem and the others are – well – men –so that doesn’t help. (I’m kidding! Of course, I’m kidding! I know men who worry – plenty of them.)

Living free from worry is so counter-cultural, so revolutionary, so rare, I can only conclude that it must be Biblical!

This means, it can only be achieved through supernatural means like the kind of supernatural forces it takes to get a camel through the eye of a needle or to make a blind man see or raise the dead. It requires the kind of devotion to Christ that is often only seen in the book of Acts. But that just makes me want it even more.

There are other payoffs that keep me in bondage to Stress and Worry and their little brother, Fret, but I am on a journey to freedom. This is a big problem and a big subject so I can’t explore it all in just one post – this will be my first “part one” post (plus, I’m worried that this is getting too long and you’re not reading any more – aaahhh! I did it again! See what a problem this is for me?).

So, I’m off. My first step is to fortify my arsenal with two or three Bible verses to use to defend myself against the bedtime assault of worry that keeps me awake and then invades my dreams.

By the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe I can do this. Hey, I was born in the sixties – we were BORN to be counter-cultural. I’m all over this revolution, baby!

Who’s with me? Ready to escape from worry?

I’m not talking Zen, people, this is way beyond Zen, we’re talking Christlike, we’re talking Kingdom come, we’re talking full-throttle trust in Jesus – Are you with me?

Talk to me, friends, talk to me now. Am I alone with this problem? Am I alone in thinking it was too quick a trip from Candyland to Worry-land? Am Ialone in seeking to be delivered? Talk to me.

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11 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. You are not alone! My pals and I over at The Fig Tree blog have been harping on worry since October it seems. It’s a GIANT that we, as individuals, must attack with the WORD. The only weapon that works. Thank you for sharing this, Lori. If you’re up for it, my recent blog is all about depending on God. Dovetails right into your inspirational thoughts about worry: http://shannondittemore.com/?p=442

  2. Cheri says:

    ((((Lori))))

    I am rolling on the floor laughing… only after moving the chairs from under the kitchen table, because I was worried I could hit my head on one of them!

    You are not alone, and your sense of humor so blessed me this afternoon.

    I was just writing a chapter in the book that deals with my response to finding out that my son was held at gunpoint. There was a little worry going on … and you already know he got involved in drugs (with or without placemats! I mean ~ we homeschooled, home churched for a short time, we did all the right stuff to keep this worry from coming true).

    So worry doesn’t keep bad things from happening. But we insist on trying to be the first to perfect a way to worry that will. Ugh, such a conundrum!

    Well, thanks for a chuckle and a good dose of truth. Gotta run. I’m worried I’ll be late for my dinner date with hubby…

    Cheri =)

  3. I’m all over it, Shannon! I’ll be there after I rescue the supper I burned posting my blog! Viva la revolucion!

  4. So glad to bring some laughter into your day, Cheri! I don’t think there are any studies on the ill effects of laughter! 🙂

  5. Andrea says:

    I needed this, today. My middle son is giving me cause to worry…GREAT CAUSE…and I am having trouble keeping him surrendered over to our LORD. We both know…I can’t fix it….

    Hugs, andrea

  6. I thought I trusted God – and then I had kids! I’ll be praying for you Andrea. I know it’s a serious battle!

  7. Anonymous says:

    How many times I find myself tense & holding my breath and realize I literally have my shoulders almost touching my ears. Relax, exhale, and lower those shoulders. Yep – I was worrying again.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Oops – Lori, that was me, Marilyn, I do not know how to get me up there, so had to do anonymous.

  9. I absolutely do that shoulder hunch, Marilyn! I’ll be praying about part II, I’m eager to learn from God how to break free!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m a bit behind in reading, but just read this tonight. ‘Worry’ should be my middle name, or maybe my first name! I’ve received so much counsel about it, I could fill several books. Keep ’em comin’, Lori. I’m waiting for part II and III and IV and however many it takes for it to sink in… – Ruth

  11. All the parts are written, Ruth! Read them all and trust the Lord!