Learning to Worry Big

My husband recently returned from his third trip of the year. This time he was in London for a week. Without the rest of us. Weird things happen when we are left without him.

Ellie, for one, expects to sleep in my bed every night and spend every afternoon shopping. Neither of those things actually happen, because I don’t particularly enjoy either of those things, but she tries anyway. Every day.

Zach might start the week off fine, but with each passing day, the boy grows more and more belligerent. His emotions morph slightly bipolar. He complains (passionately) about things he typically enjoys and attempts to assert dominance over the house and all in it. Bedtime is highly disputed, as is my intelligence and authority.

On the flipside, homework becomes a breeze. I suspect this is because my typical catalyst for its completion — “There will be consequences if this is not done before your father gets home!” — loses all impact. After all, he won’t be home for a week. And so our fatherless nights often find us peacefully doing homework at 7:30pm while simultaneously eating mac-and-cheese or our third tray of pigs-in-blankets.

Meanwhile, I don’t sleep. I love sleep, but when Rick is not here, it just doesn’t happen. When he’s home, I’m in bed before 9 and asleep by 10. (Don’t knock it. It’s amazing!) When he’s away, I rarely hit the pillow until 1am and then rise again at 6. Or earlier.

The house, typically in disarray, stays relatively tidy and clean while I tackle and finish projects that have waited months (sometimes years) for attention.

Go figure. When one doesn’t sleep, one gets things done.

For example, during our most recent Rick-less week I published a book, sifted through storage, sold a piano, moved all the furniture from our porch to indoors, ripped up carpet, painted the porch floors and front steps (with the help of my amazing mother-in-law), cleaned windows, washed siding, replaced the furniture, and kept on top of dishes, laundry, and chores. Who is this woman?!

Oh, but even when I do sleep, weird things happen. All of my worries personify in dreams about missing things. Not missing like I miss my husband, but missing as in forgetting or losing.

Garbage day. Recycling pick-up. Bills. Locking front doors. Closing sunroofs. Homework assignments. Mascara, but only on the tops of lashes.

I very well may have done all of these things and more, but they still keep me awake at night. I worry that something — or lots of little somethings — will slip through the cracks. Naturally, that means the world will end.

solarsys02_comp - half_size_8bitThis is our world. No, not the giant glowing orb. That’s our sun, of course.

We live on that little, itty-bitty marble third from the left. The speck of dust next to us is our moon.

While I’m losing sleep and part of my mind fretting over imaginary garbage trucks I think I hear in the middle of the night, God — Creator of all this, all that is in it, and all that surrounds it — keeps these amazing marbles in synchronized orbit. Not one is lost and they never bump into each other. How amazing is that?

Not only does He make the planets dance around stars, He knows the very number of hairs on my head, a number, I can attest, changes several times a day. A sparrow doesn’t fall without His knowledge. And my failure to close a sunroof before it rains will hardly send all these wonders into crashing demise.

Sometimes we worry too small. From our perspectives, everything seems huge. These burdens we carry overwhelm us with their immediacy. Oh, but it’s all so tiny! And rather inconsequential.

We mistakenly believe the world will collapse if we don’t do our part. In truth, the God who loves us will keep the marbles spinning.

I want to worry big.

I know, I know … the Bible tells us not to worry. Right. But we all do it even when we know we shouldn’t. Worry stems from fear and we all battle fear. I know this because — well, I’m human and relatively observant, but also because God had to tell almost everyone in Scripture not to fear. He wouldn’t have to tell us so many times if fear were not such a prevalent problem. Perhaps not to the same degrees or for the same reasons, but we all fear something. When we fear, we worry.

In one of my classes recently, someone insisted that fear and faith cannot co-exist. That’s baloney. If fear and faith could not co-exist, there would be no reasonable call for courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear. Faith requires courage. It is action and belief in the face of doubt and worry.

If we’re going to worry, let us worry big. Let us worry about the things that really matter.

Forget about garbage pick-ups, silly math assignments, half-hearted appearances, and soggy seats. Rather, worry about hunger, oppression, poverty, spiritual ignorance. Worry about false teachers, abuse in its many forms, and the Word of God being warped and mistreated. Worry about those who are lost. Worry about insignificance.

Here’s the truth: Even though we are nearly invisible specks on a little marble, we are precious to God and He has a plan for our lives. He made us for something far greater than sleepless nights and small worries.

TALK TO ME: How do you maintain perspective when all the little worries seem to take over?

Talk to me!

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