"I Will Get Mauled by a Lion," and Other Ways to Fear the Worst.

August 19, 2017

I’m a worrier. Usually I’m quite happy laser-focusing that worry into hypochondria. A cough that won’t go away — likely pneumonia. Shooting pain in my leg — blood clot. Twitch in my eye — a muscular disorder.


But sometimes, when I’ve recently had my annual physical or Alex has banned me from WebMD, I lift my eyes from my potentially deadly illnesses — and experience the joy of full life.  And then there are other times, when I let the health worries go — only to fixate on something else.


We’re in one of those phases now. We have the crazy incredible privilege to travel to South Africa for two weeks. To see more of our amazing world. To spend two weeks of Texas summer in the cool breezes of African winter. I should be joyful, excited, thrilled, but for much of the last few months leading up to our trip, I’ve let my worry — my fear — steal every last shred of my joy.

We’re leaving Pine at Disney World while we’re gone (ok, with my parents — but pretty much the same thing). I know he’ll have a blast playing his new drum set, swimming in the new kiddy pool with a slide, coloring at the new activity table, counting down our trip with robot stickers (yes, it’s always a changing smorgasbord of fun at their house). He’ll eat food we don’t quite approve of, go to story time, attend a birthday party and spend tons of time with his aunts and uncles who are much cooler than me.


He isn’t going to miss us. He isn’t even going to want us to come back. It’s going to take weeks to level-set his behavioral expectations when we return.


But I have spent the last several months sick with worry about this separation. I’ve envisioned just about every possible unusual, terrible eventuality that could come of this trip or his time away.


And who knows what tomorrow will hold, but I know one thing’s for sure: Living the most horrifying, awful, dreadful moments of my life 100 times instead of once only steals my joy for today. It doesn’t brace me for the worst — you can’t prepare for those moments. But what you can do is soak up every last moment of pure happiness, love and encouragement from today.


To be honest, I worry I’ll somehow jinx myself by even writing about these fears. Like if I write about how things are probably going to be ok, that somehow it’ll cause the bad things to happen. How crazy is that? (Don't answer.)


God is in control, and I am not.  He is for us. And He is good. I may not always agree with or understand His plans, but by withdrawing my trust and spiraling into worry, I’m just taking the joy and the opportunities for growth and throwing them away.


I can’t see what the next two weeks hold, but I’m working on letting go of my silly fake grip and holding on to what He has planned for me.


Knowing my control-freak tendencies and wild imagination, I think this will be a lifelong struggle (especially when you have friends who encourage you with things like “If you’re going to die — you’re going to die — it doesn’t matter if you’re here or in Africa.” Here’s looking at you, Nicki! :P )— but you’ve got to start somewhere.


(But while I’ve got you on the line, please do be praying for all of our safety, and a happy reunion in a couple of weeks. :D )


Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? –Matthew 6:26-27

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