Everyone is addicted to something. On a good day, chocolate mint chip ice cream sandwiches become endangered species in my freezer. On a bad day, I just can't seem to stop worrying.
Although I suspect my love affair with worry started since I was wee tall, I only recently realized how serious my guilty pleasure had become.
My penchant for coming up with things to worry about was masked by more (ahem) positive terms for worryaholism: good planning, control, and self-reliance.
The truth behind all this, however, is a different story.
I have trouble falling asleep nights. My mind often races, writing up "what if" scenarios and chewing on problems to solve.
I second guess myself. Although I'm quick on practical, get-her-done decisions, when it comes to making decisions for myself, I freeze up, afraid to make mistakes.
It became harder to feel joy. I felt myself slipping further from spontaneity into the confines of problem solving and feargazing.
I almost can't be blamed for being such a worry nut. I was the oldest child to a teenage single mom who didn't speak a word of English. To get from poverty to self-sustaining adulthood, one has to have a plan, don't you think?
In God's wisdom, He allowed me to view myself under the light of these lies. Until it was time for a faith intervention.
An Unexpected Response
I was an unsuspecting conferee at a Christian women's retreat earlier this year when I got notice that my worry-filled days were numbered.
On the last night of the retreat, a woman shared her testimony.
Abused as a little girl, she turned to a life of addictions and eventually lost her four children to the State because of them. She cried, confiding it was the night of her oldest son's birthday, who she hadn't seen since he was a little boy.
It wasn't until she was fifty years old when she found Christ, becoming addiction-free at sixty.
The disturbing thing wasn't her testimony. It was my response.
Her story upset me. I didn't understand why God would wait so long before rescuing her.
Wasn't she angry at God? How could she trust Him?
Back in my room, I broke down in tears. I realized that I was the person who was angry at God. I was the the little girl who felt God didn't rescue from the circumstances of life.
In an effort to avoid hurtful circumstances, I relied on my ability to plan, and a habit of worrying grew over time.
I knew I needed to change, but didn't know where to begin.
As I cried in despair, I felt God's tears drop on my heart.
Quietly, He gathered me in His arms and spoke.
Don't be afraid. I can free you from worry.
Just as I brought light out of darkness, I will bring order out of your chaos.
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." Genesis 1:2, 3
I have rescued you, Bonnie. Never mind the circumstances. You were always safe.
Through imperfect faith, I saw that God was good.
Faith was no longer a goal for me to reach. It became the bridge I must cross daily to see God's goodness and live worry-free.
That night, I stepped out of denial and surrendered myself.
"I am the Lord's servant.. May it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:26-40
This prayer has become my anecdote to worry. During the day or late at night, I say to my worries, Let it be, if that is what God allows for me.
As I drifted off to sleep, my soul changed from painful remembrance to tearful gratitude. I am learning to walk freely by faith. One day at a time.
How has faith freed you on your life journey?
How has God staged a faith intervention for you?
by Bonnie GrayLeave a Comment
Heather Sunseri says
Oh, Bonnie, what amazing timing for me to read this, for I, too, suffer from worryism from time to time. I will be chatting with God again today about this. Thanks, Bonnie and InCourage.
Great sharing! Yes, I believe many women (if not all) suffer from worry at some point in our lives. I have suffered from constant worry about money. So much so, last year, I worked two jobs while my husband was out of work. I nearly killed myself physically and mentally. I asked for God’s help. At the time, I had sneering looks from “friends” and couldn’t understand why God took so long to answer. But I had to realize He was all I needed. I let go. I let a lot of things go, and now, I feel free from that anxiety. I am learning to trust in Him with every new day.
Billy Coffey says
I still struggle with this, and often. One day at a time, though. This was fantastic, Bonnie. Just as I’ve come to expect from you!
Holley Gerth says
As a fellow worrier, your words speak straight to my heart! Thanks for sharing truth with us in such a beautiful, powerful way.
deb @talk at the table says
Thank you Bonnie. You have just moved my heart to see someone I love dearly in a new light. I have been baffled by their behaviour at times, especially when the tasks at hand seem to be more important than “showing up” for the hard stuff. I will carry this image of how their heart might be suffering but I was unable to see it. fyi this person also struggled as a small child immigrant, bridging the gap for parents, and feeling alienated.
Blessings to you.
Anne Lang Bundy says
Oh Bonnie! I love how you’ve applied Genesis 1:2-3 here. I had shivers up my spine as I read this, and HOW the Lord spoke to me just now through you. I know the Lord “works all things for good.” But how encouraging to think that God stands waiting to create beauty from chaos, to bring Light into darkness.
Bradley J. Moore says
Bonnie – The older I get, the less important I realize it is to maintain control and order. Having kids blew this apart when I was in my late twenties. Then the more you go through life, the more you realize that it is just impossible to live up to our own idealized standards and expectations for how things should be. The only antidote is total surrender, every day. And God’s version of “order,: by the way, may have absolutely no resemblance to our own. But we persist, we mobilize, we do our best and trust him for the outcome.
I like your prayer – “Let it be, if that’s what God wants for me.”
so good, so true…..
I will use that prayer, also. We always say something like “If this is your will for my life, increase my desire for it. If it is NOT, please decrease my desire.” Yours is easier and makes a great “breath prayer.” thank you!
Thank you for this beautiful perspective. It’s a great reminder that worry shouldn’t be our accepted state of being.
Doug Spurling says
Faith filled beautiful post Bonnie, thank you. Like Abram to Abraham, Bonnie to Faith. You’re becoming a Faith Giant.
Faith Barista Bonnie says
@Heather: It’s amazing to me whenever God’s timing places me together with another friend like you! Thanks, Heather!
@Pamela: It took a lot of courage for you to hang in there, in faith, while “friends” fell to the wayside of support. Amazing story. Those are the days of water walking faith. What a testimony, Pamela! I’m so happy you shared something so special from your heart.
@Billy: How comforting to know this is a common struggle. It’s awesome knowing this faith journey is made easier with bloggy faith friends along the way. Thanks, Billy!
@Holley: How encouraging it is to share a moment in a heart such as yours, Holley! Thanks for sharing. You are an encourager, through and through! Thankful for you.
@Deb: “You have just moved my heart..” Thank you, Deb! Blessings right back.
@Anne: Wow. Thank you for sharing your encouragement, Anne! God is good!
@Bradley: Oh, yeah! I should disclose I went to the women’s conference because I just had my 2nd baby born and I was completely zonked out from sleep deprivation & needed SLEEP. I was totally green behind the ears being a mom of two (yikes!). Parenthood definitely sped up the demise of any vestige of control or order! ;p “The only antidote is total surrender, every day.” Thanks, Bradley. That’s one to take to the bank.
@Sanee: Thanks, Sandee!
@Catherine: What a wonderful prayer, Catherine! Thank you for sharing yours! Thank God for breath prayers.
@thegypsymama: “It’s a great reminder that worry shouldn’t be our accepted state of being.” Thank *you* for your beautiful perspective, Lisa-Jo! Love it.
Thank You for the reminder let it be, I found myself in need of this today struggling to see the light and the good, then I opened my e mail and found this what a blessing. Also a picture from my son of a rainbow that came after the rain yesterday and he took the time to capture it in the middle of his work. Each day will bring us rainbows if we just let it be God has control.
FaithBarista Bonnie says
@Doug: What an encourager you are! Thank you for your kind words, Doug.
@Chris: What a beautiful ray of sunshine your encouragement brings, Chris. “Each day will bring us rainbows if we just let it be. God has control.” I love the bloom of reassuring images of these words bring. Thank you!
Russell Holloway says
That was a beautiful story Bonnie… Blessings to you… I appreciate you so much…
Precious story, Bonnie. Glad you are featured over here too 🙂 Love reading your work 🙂
I too used to worry a lot, until God placed me in a position (as a missionary) to depend fully on him for EVERYTHING (especially finances). Now I have NO choice but to depend on him, knowing that there is nothing I can do (in my own control) about it anyways.
U r loved, girl!!!!
You and I have discussed how this topic is one in which we have much in common!
This was a beautiful post that touched me on many levels.
I’m not much of a worrier. There have been times in my life when I have worried about specific things, and I get frustrated that I’m not in control of so much that happens, but then God gently (and sometimes not so gently) reminds me that worry is the opposite of faith. AHEM.
Diana Kimberlin says
I was at a Womens’ Study weekend this past winter. The speaker taught us many things; among these was a phrase to use when being pressured to do ____ (you fill in the blank). It was “Oh, well!” Not said in anger but in love. It fits here well when you begin to worry about what will happen. Say “Oh, well. God will!” My question is why for me it is easy to let go and let God in some situations but not in others. My guess is that I am still in my growing up phase in faith.
Beth Beutler says
A good reminder for someone who struggles with this, too. I have to admit to myself that I hate feeling out of control. But I must remember too that if worry saddens my Father, would it not be better to fear saddening him? Perhaps the development of the authentic “fear of God” (loving awe, respect, gratefulness, love) would be a good antidote, too.
Ginny (MAD21) says
I love this, ‘In an effort to avoid hurtful circumstances, I relied on my ability to plan…’
I’ve never thought of it that way before. I’d add control to that as well, for me.
Thanks for sharing, Bonnie. Wonderful as usual.
FaithBarista Bonnie says
@Russell: Thank you, Russell! Blessings right back!
@Maureen: What a blessing you are! Thanks your loving encouragement, Maureen! I love the way “used to worry” is the phrase paving your path to serving God in the front lines as a missionary. God’s got your back, girl! You’re awesome.
@Bridget: Thank *you*, Bridget. Sharing is such a comfort to the journey.
@katdish: You’re enjoying a wonderful blessing, Kat. “Worry is the opposite of faith.” Now, that’s quotable! Thanks!
@Diana: Thanks for sharing and passing on the “good stuff” from the study, Diana. “My guess is that I am still in my growing up phase in faith.” Your guess is wise and true for all of us on this side of heaven! 😉
@ Beth: Thanks for sharing here, Beth. Your test will become a testimony to share. God bless!
@Ginny: You’re encouraging, as usual. 😉 Thanks for sharing here, Ginny! You’re awesome.
Brett Barner says
Bonnie, always a joy reading your posts. You are absolutely right. I often find myself in an unfortunate routine of blah.
This reminds me of the nudge that John gave Peter when Christ called from the shore to cast the nets on the other side after the crucifixion.
Peter had to hear that nudge from John before he was convinced that it was truly Christ.
Sometimes those faith interventions come from others believers too. Kind of like this post to me 🙂
Bonnie, I totally can relate to the “what ifs” scenarios and I imagine if it would to happen all over again, what would my ideal response would be and it will chew me up over and over again. It is hard to let go. I worry about many things and it chewed me up.
I thank you for this post, I needed the Faith Intervention, it is not that I do not have Faith in our God. I tend to worry the smaller worries by myself and the “bigger” worries, I give them to Him. I rationalized my worries, I am reminded by your post, that He has time for ALL of my worries. Thank you for this “nudge’.
Just wondering if eBay allows you to sell concert tickets on the net? Do you know if there are any restrictions based on what country you’re in?
My parents have just known as me and asked if i could “get rid” of their two tickets to some concert as they wont have the ability to make it as a result of an additional family event.
Besides asking buddies etc, i thought ebay would be a fantastic location to market them.
But whats ebay’s policy on promoting tickets? Ive heard alot about it within the news but ive forgotten what happened.
and if it matters, the concert is inside this coming month
Thanks ahead of time for the advice.
Just questioning if eBay allows you to sell concert tickets online? Do you know if you can find any restrictions based on what country you’re in?
My parents have just referred to as me and asked if i could “get rid” of their two tickets to some concert as they wont have the ability to make it because of an additional family event.
Apart from asking buddies etc, i thought ebay would be an excellent place to sell them.
But whats ebay’s policy on offering tickets? Ive heard alot about it around the news but ive forgotten what happened.
and if it matters, the concert is inside of this coming month
Thanks ahead of time for the advice.
Thank you. ( that is all my heart can say right now)
Betty Draper says
Great post..I always know when I am worrying, I am wanting to control the what if’s and when I want to control it’s because I think I have the answers and if God would just work thing out this way then I would not have to spent all this time worrying…a circle that only gets smaller and smaller till I find my self tied into a knot. I think your prayer just untied my knot…thank you.