Fear is not a shield. Fear is a hammer to the nail of pain. And worry is a completely useless activity.
Think about this: The intended function of fear is to cause us to stop and think before we do something; it is not necessarily meant to stop us from doing it. Yes, fear has a function, but a limited one. Worry, on the other hand, is pointless.
As someone who has fallen victim to the false belief that worrying about something (anything, everything) will somehow provide a protection against whatever happens, I have spent far too much of my time in fear and I’m tired of it. I’ve recently focused my attention on figuring out why I tend to fall prey to worry and fear so easily and so often, and I believe I’ve uncovered the answer (or at least an answer) as well as a solution, and I’d like to share my findings (or epiphany) with fellow worriers in hopes of freeing all of us.
Think about the act of worrying. What does it really accomplish? I’ve been living under the false belief that if I worry about things that might happen then I’ll somehow be armed and ready when or if they do come to fruition. But after thinking about it, and I mean really digging into the truth of it, I see how worry has never acted as any kind of shield against the pain of a situation when it hits. And worse than that, worry is a total waste of energy and time as most of the things we worry about NEVER EVEN HAPPEN.
Without digging into my past or life story, I can tell you that I decided as a young girl if I kept my guard up at all times (worry), nothing would be able to surprise me. I have been living under the assumption that if I’m not caught off guard or surprised by a thing, somehow it won’t hurt so much. I was wrong. An “epiphany”. Whether I’m caught off guard by an event, or holding my position of so-called readiness (like an outfielder always waiting for a ball, glove ready, knees bent, even when there is no ball in sight), the event and my reaction to it is the same. Worry failed to accomplish anything.
When something unfortunate does happen, we all have to do the same thing: deal with the situation at hand until it’s over. Sometimes we can “fix” or “change” what we are experiencing, and sometimes we cannot, but either way, worry does nothing to help. It’s an impotent emotion or a dull sword that serves only to add unnecessary stress to our lives thus affecting our health and robbing us from regularly experiencing joy.
Now, my solution to this “affliction” of being a worrier may not be the same as your solution, and that’s okay. I’m not reaching out to fellow worriers to get you to do things my way, I’m reaching out with hopes of helping you identify what worry really is and put it out of your life. For me, that means taking my fears and worries to God, placing them at his feet and believing he will take care of things. That isn’t to say nothing will ever go “wrong” in life, but when it does, I find comfort in knowing God is in control since I have put him there. However things play out, I hold tight to God’s hand, trusting that he will (by his word) provide the best outcome as well as comfort along the way. I can worry about something I don’t really have any control over, or I can give it to someone (God) who actually does have the power of control. And I know that does not mean everything always goes the way I (or any of us) intend or expect, but it does mean that whatever the outcome, it will be okay.
The other “epiphany” to dealing with the element of worry is to focus my mind in other areas. Going to God is number one, but taking action is second. By action I mean purposefully redirecting my thoughts; not focusing on what I’m worried about.
The biggest fears (for me) are of course the loss of a child or my husband, or anything destructive happening to them. In that case, I honestly don’t know how I would deal with it, but I do know now that worrying about it will not change anything or equip me for dealing any better. And the worry itself is more destructive in both the short-run and the long-run.
When something does happen, we do what we CAN do and, in my case, pray and believe through it. There is no such thing as preparing oneself for, or shielding against unfortunate things happening in life. They can and they will. But there is comfort and joy to be experienced from releasing fear and worry, and focusing only on what IS happening in life, not what MIGHT happen.
And there is great comfort to be found in knowing that when something DOES happen, there is a higher power ready and willing to take our hand and walk us through. We won’t be doing it alone or without power. Worry will continue to poke it’s ugly head up, but it only means we hammer it back down by whatever means we’ve found works for us (remember the Whack-A-Mole game?). The key is not to embrace the worry.
However you choose to break free from the bondage of worry, follow it through. We all have plenty of challenges to deal with daily, don’t let worry make the load heavier.
I wish you all the best!