i think i’ve always been a worrier. it started out innocent enough -will i get picked for the dodge ball team or get an A on my chemistry exam? but just as the candles were added to my proverbial birthday cake, did the magnitude of my worry increase as well. what if i never get married? what if i die alone? what if i get fired from my job and can’t make my mortgage payments? what if no one thinks i’m funny anymore?
i had to add a little humor on that last one, the other worries were just too depressing.
anyway, i came across this statement the other day on pinterest and it stopped me dead in my tracks. in a season of my life where my anxiety levels have climbed for no apparent reason (is this what happens with age?), i am finding that my worries have all but taken on a life of their own. regardless of the fact that i logically know things will get accomplished, lists will get checked off, i will indeed make it to the airport/restaurant/work on time, i continue to allow myself be consumed by the terrorizing “what if?”
and honestly, it is exhausting. i am constantly exhausted. i mean, usually it’s just a physical exhaustion from staying up too late watching old friday night lights episodes when you know full well that you have to get up early in the morning. but worrying exhausts you mentally. and emotionally. and unlike napping or logging in a few extra hours on a lazy saturday morning, those are the kinds of fatigue that you can’t get back. so i’m trying to take a step back and ask myself the question above.
will this matter a year from now?
will worrying about whether or not her instagram photo got more likes than mine or that another friend is engaged before me or that i didn’t make a workout because i was stuck in traffic make any difference in 365 days? how about worrying whether or not i’ll pack the right things for australia or whether my face will look fat in photos or that i won’t make it to jimbo’s to buy almond butter before they close?
like i said, this worrying has become like this wild animal that can’t be tamed. it has a mind of its own and will strike at a moment’s notice. and its power over me has become too much to bear. the furrow between my two eyebrows is deepening by the day and botox scares the living daylights out of me, so if for no other reason than my vanity i seriously need to get it in check.
but cosmetic jokes aside, whenever i’m plagued with worry, i try to remember back to those verses in matthew where Jesus discusses this very topic, “therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. are you not much more valuable than they? can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (matthew 6:25-27) i mean, birds are great and all (except seagulls, they are evil) but they pale in comparison to the love and adoration that our Savior has for us as His precious children. so how much more is He looking out for us, preparing for us, comforting us, and providing for us?
when i choose to worry about trivial things, it’s almost like i’m undermining His omnipotence and providence, as if to say, nah, still don’t think you’ve got this. and you know what? i am always wrong.
so as the new year unfolds and i’m given a clean slate and a renewed approach to how i’d like to “do” life in twenty-fourteen, i’m making this one (of many) mantras: “will this matter a year from now?” when i’m lying awake at night with my mind racing of whether or not i’ll be able to squeeze in a coffee date and/or a car wash into my already busy saturday or whether i should have responded with a wittier text to that cute guy from trader joe’s, or even if my hair is clean enough to forgo one more day of washing, i’m going to stop (collaborate and listen). i’m going to take a deep breath and ask myself if these trivial issues will have any bearing on my life in 365 days.
chances are, they won’t.
and if these things things won’t matter in a year from now, what business do they have plaguing me in this very instant?