Proactive Worrying

Proactive Worrying

Every once in a while I get caught up in something I call “proactive worrying.” It’s where I think about something from every angle just to “prepare myself” for happens next.

Does that sound smart? It isn’t. When I really stop and think about what God wants me to do, there isn’t anything productive about proactive worrying.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (NLT)”

Philippians 4:6- 7

In all the biggest things in my life, the ones that rocked me to the core, proactive worrying didn’t help. Sometimes, I obsessed about things that never happened, and other times the things I worried about did happen but worrying didn’t do one thing to help me deal with it.

I worried and obsessed for years about my dad’s drinking. He was a messed up, abusive guy… and I worried that his drinking would lead to a bad end for him. I tried a variety of things to stop him, and in between all the pleading I worried.

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When my fears came true, and he reached a horrible end, I was not prepared. All that worry. All that time spent trying to prepare myself… it didn’t help. And then, and only then, did I open my arms to God in the way that I should have. I prayed before. I’ve prayed my whole life for things. Before my dad died, I prayed for his drinking to stop. And yet, I didn’t pray for God’s will. I didn’t pray for him to take those worries from me. I wanted my dad’s drinking to stop… PERIOD!… and I worried what would happen if it didn’t.

All that worry didn’t help me grieve or recover. Only God did. When I stood in the hospital and realized that my father was gone, I felt God shake me, felt him tell me to pay attention. My father’s life was a lesson for me, not because I was like him or even had the same problems he did, but because my father wasted his life with drinking… and I wasted parts of mine with worry. The lesson was huge.

When I fall back to that point where I am obsessing about things and worrying, I feel that shake of the shoulders again. That reminder. Thank God for his ways. I know now that when I feel this way, the only thing I can do is turn to him and ask God to help me… give me peace… take the worry from me.

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Cherie Burbach About Cherie Burbach

Cherie Burbach is the founder of Putting on the New. She is a poet, mixed media artist, and freelance writer. She’s written for About.com, NBC/Universal, Match.com, Christianity Today, and more. Her latest book is: Art and Faith: Mixed Media Art With a Faith-Filled Message. For more, check out her website.

Comments

  1. Philippians 4:6-7 is my FAVORITE verse! I love this, because it’s so true and when I worry I must remind myself not to. Thanks for sharing, Cherie!

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  2. Oh, I’m glad I’m not the only one, Toni! I go back to that verse again and again.

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  3. Laurie Driesen says:

    Thanks for sharing about NOT worrying. That real life example really makes me think that I need to work on my worrying…! I try not to worry, but it comes naturally at times!

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    Cherie Burbach

    Cherie Burbach Reply:

    I hear you! It comes naturally to me, too. What’s worse is I think I’m being responsible by doing that, and really, that still isn’t what God wants.

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