About a year ago Lyle bought me a t-shirt that says:
He said I needed it.
You see I have a very active worry gene that sometimes keeps me awake nights. You didn’t know worrying is genetic? Apparently it is because one of my parents is a worrier and his mother before him was a worrier. Honestly, we try not to worry. We say we are not going to worry. But then we do. I don’t know why that is.
Last spring I was going through an extremely devastating mental battle which led to many sleepless nights. I guess that’s why Lyle thought I needed the shirt. Finally, a year later I’m beginning to come out of it and sleeping better most nights, but I still find myself falling into that habit on occasion.
Yesterday I was trying to help a friend move her photos from her cell phone to her computer. I was walking her through the process over the phone because we don’t live near one another. Various things we tried didn’t work, so finally I suggested she upload them to the cloud. That worked to start with. But then it didn’t. So we were troubleshooting again. It was getting late and both of us were getting frustrated with the process, so I said, “Okay. How ’bout this? Just put the phone down and go to bed. Maybe the pictures just got hung up some way and will finish uploading during the night.” I have had that happen before and was pretty sure that was the most likely scenario.
During the night I woke up and started worrying: “Okay. If that doesn’t work, what should we try next?”
How stupid is that?
Because you know what? I had a text just as soon as I got up this morning: “You were right. The pictures were there this morning.”
And all that worry in the night? Completely wasted mental effort. You’d think I would learn.
Right in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says as plain as anything that it’s useless to worry:
“Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” –Matthew 6:32-33
And so… I’m going to continue working on praying more and worrying less.
Jesus didn’t say anything about coffee, so I guess that’s optional.
I believe I’ll have a cup anyway, since you offered.
Perfect timing, my friend! Perfect timing! I had a busy brain night last night too. I always have to go to Philippians 4:6-7. I love the word picture in the Message version: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” I love the idea of shaping my worries into prayers and then handing them off to God. Maybe that picture will help you too!
Karla Ezell Cook
That’s great, Michael Ann! Thank you for sharing that. So encouraging!
Busy brain. Love that.
Haha! I am glad coffee is optional. 😉 Some years ago I was visiting with an older saint. We were talking about waking up and not being able to go back to sleep. Interestingly, we both found that when we started praying about whatever we rather quickly fell asleep. Not sure of all the ramifications but it still works pretty well. 🙂 Love you, my friend! Will be praying you start getting some good nights of rest. Life is so much more manageable when we get those, I’ve been told. 😉 🙂
Karla Ezell Cook
Yes, Denise, I do try to pray during the night like that… but I often find my mind wandering back to the worry! And yes, I think life must be more manageable with adequate sleep. Thanks for the prayers and encouragement! Love you!
Sheila @ Making the Most of Every Day
I WANT THAT SHIRT!! My mom is a worrier. Thankfully I’m not. I don’t mean I don’t worry ever; I just done worry over everything like she does. I don’t wait up for my children at night. I don’t USUALLY create what-if scenarios (sometimes but not always.) I attributed it to being a follower of Christ but maybe not. Maybe it’s just my personality. When I do start worrying, I, too, turn to the Philippians passage Michael Ann mentioned. Often my worry turns to fear so then I turn to the fear-not passages. My favorite is the one we memorized in Core A oh so many years ago: Isaiah 43:1. I’ll leave you with Proverbs 3:24 (NLT).
Karla Ezell Cook
The “Pray More/Worry Less/Drink Coffee” shirt is still available, Sheila!
Thankfully my “worry” doesn’t usually turn to fear. It’s more a matter of trying to figure out “What will I do if this happens?” and get everything worked out in my mind ahead of time… which, as I said, is just stupid. So many scenarios never come to pass.
Those are great scriptures. I think I’ll start a list of anti-worry verses to keep by my bed! Thank you for the encouragement.
What a fabulous post! I needed to hear this. Well, read this. I am a grand worrier. I wake up all the time trying to solve the world’s problems from my bed. Thank you for speaking some sense to me!
Karla Ezell Cook
I’m glad it was encouraging to you, Leslie. I think that’s my problem, too. When I wake up at night I lay there trying to solve the world’s problems… not necessarily fretting about the “what if’s” but just trying to get all my ducks (and everyone else’s!) in a row!
We all have our battles, and we just have to keep fighting!! Never give up, and I’ll bet in time it will improve. I’ve been surprised at some of the battles I fought for years thinking they would never improve and then suddenly had a breakthrough. 🙂