Saturday, September 16, 2006

What's the Worst That Can Happen?

I swear, if worrying were an Olympic event, I could win the gold, hands down. Over the years, I've perfected my abilities in this area to peak performance. I've gotten so good at it, I no longer just worry about real problems. I can imagine situations to worry about. Honestly, I can.

Just recently, I got a call in the morning from my friend who rides with me to work. She didn't need a ride that day (it was my first day back after being off for a few days). Guess what I thought. "Oh, Jenn must be sick - I should pray for her." Nope. I assumed I might be let go (they do that a lot where I work!) and someone told her not to ride with me so I could go when I got the pink slip! Now if that isn't the biggest bunch of hooey . . . ! You'd think I could write a best selling novel, with an imagination like that.

I have to say, I reached the place where I realized I was driving myself crazy with worrying. Needless worrying. In recent months, weeks, days (hey, I'm just a work in progress!) I've adopted a little mantra that helps me avoid making mountains out of molehills. I say to myself:

"What's the worst that could happen?"

And then I think it out to that end. What's the worst that could happen if I run out of gas? I'll call AAA. I may be late for work. I may have a lot of messages when I get back to the offices. I may have to stay late tonight. But I'll survive.

The other day when my obsessive tendencies revealed a (literally) gaping problem in our bathroom tub, I was tempted to fall apart. Then I asked myself the above question. And proceeded to answer it. We might not be able to take a bath or shower tonight (okay, my inlaws do live 4 doors away). Our bathroom might be out of commission for a while. (Hmm, a visit to my sister seems in order). Mike might be upset. (Yeah, well he'll get over it, he still loves me, and besides, he has a right to - he told me not to remove any grout!) We might have to chunk down some money and call in a professional (ugh, we don't really have money budgeted for that right now, but we'd survive). Or maybe, just maybe - I can tackle this myself (which I did and it's holding, for now!)

I realize taking this to an extreme could be dangerous. I can't just have an "I don't care" attidude about everything. Nor can I avoid facing the just and natural consequences of my actions. But I'm learning that in my worrying, I can blow things so far out of proportion that I fail to focus on and fix the problem anyways. Once I think through the situation, I'm usually able to stop and pray about it.

I know there will always be stressful situations from time to time in my life. But I also know that God does not want me to live in a state of constant panic. Nor does he want me to invent situations to stress about! He wants me to experience the perfect peace that comes from focusing on him. And that's what I want too.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)


Katrina said...

Well, Di, I think I could give you a little competition for that gold medal. As soon as one of my kids runs a fever, I have him diagnosed with all kinds of obscure diseases, thanks to the abundance of information at WebMD! But I love your approach - and one logical answer to that question for me would be... "Well, it would make me rely more on God." And that can't be a bad thing!

Jennifer said...

You highlighted both sides quite well--worrying needlessly and not really caring. I don't really worry needlessly, but I sometimes let myself get worked up about things I should just stop thinking about and move on. I also like asking, "What's the worst thing that could happen."