I have spent a large portion of my life worried about ridiculous things. I hover in the coat closet during thunderstorms (you know, for tornado protection). I'm first in line at Urgent Care when I detect a suspicious-looking mole. Things like that.
Well, somehow, in His omniscience and wisdom, God saw fit to give me, the already-frantic worrier, my little son Sam, who has life-threatening allergies to foods we are around every day.
For the first time, a real reason to worry.
I have dealt with my anxiety my entire life, and learned many helpful tips and tricks. I’ve come a long way.
But somehow, this time, with Sam, it feels different. It is more real.
Two weeks ago, Sam had an allergic reaction, and ended up in the ICU. Yes, you read that right. (He is perfectly fine, by the way. Praise the Lord.) In the days after, I shared in detail what I learned from this event. The time in the hospital was a blur, but once we came home and the dust settled, it really hit me what had happened. How precariously we live in the face of real danger and fear, every single day.
It was incredibly overwhelming. I felt the overwhelming pressure to keep my son safe, the sadness over this burden our family carries, and the weight of Tomorrow so heavy on my chest.
About that time, our pastor sent a text to my husband and me to ask how our son Sam was doing.
I texted back (honestly), "Sam is fine. Me? I am still reeling from what happened, how little it took. How do you live with that??"
And isn't that the question? How do you live - how can you? - live with confidence and not drown in despair and fear, when you have legitimate, real causes for worry?
I often think back to my pastor's response.
"How do you live?" he answered. "Prayerfully. Reality is that we should all pray that the Lord would teach us to number our days. Each one is a gift...Ours and those we love."
I find there is a lot of wisdom in that answer. I think back to it, and here are the things it reminds me.
Here is how I live - try to live - in the face of a very real fear.
- With prayer. Prayer to change things. Prayer to accept things. Prayer for wisdom. Prayer for safety. To who else can we go? HE has the words of eternal life. (John 6:68)
- With a plan. A good one. When we ask for wisdom, we can believe that he will supply it. As I pray, sometimes clarity comes regarding our plans for Sam. See, often I have found that anxiety is actually a voice trying to tell me something I need to change or do. No, we cannot control everything, nor try to. But the Lord will give us wisdom for our day-to-day lives. I truly believe it. If you are worried about something, have you done everything you can to be prepared or deal with your problem? Or are you paralyzed in fear? Pray that the Lord would give you strength and wisdom to do all that you can do.
- With humility. Humility is me saying, God, you are the one in charge here. I actually have no clue how this story will turn out. It is YOUR purposes that will stand. Our lives rest in your hands. YOU are the one who holds all things, who gives and who takes away. Human reasoning means nothing. Some trust in chariots, and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Ps. 20:7).
- And finally, with daily abounding gratitude. Gratitude is the different maker. I have wasted so much of my life in worry and fear, carrying burdens I was never meant to bear, when there is so much beauty in my present life.
If you, too, live in oppressive fear of The Worst Happening, join me in my battle. With prayer, preparation, humility, and joy - hold His hand and walk confidently into tomorrow.
"Smartter" Each Day