I have a rather embarrassing confession to make: when I was single, I had the subconscious notion that if I got married, all my anxieties would magically disappear. Ridiculous, I know. It turns out I’m the same Anxious Annie with a ring that I was without one. Now I just have another target to worry about.
One year ago, over Memorial Day weekend, my worrywart tendencies showed up in full force, and before it was all over, things got downright ugly.
My husband, Daniel, is an avid cyclist, and anytime he sees a long stretch of pavement without cars on it, he practically starts salivating. We went out of town for the weekend, and he got the notion to ride his bicycle home. All 67 miles. As if that weren’t cause enough for worry, he didn’t have a map, it was 98 degrees with the heat index, and he was going straight into a 20-mile-an-hour headwind.
Sixty-seven miles. Four and a half hours. That’s a long while to worry.
Then our next-door neighbor called and said our garage door was wide open. Had we closed it before we left? I thought so, but I couldn’t be sure. The likely scenario was that we’d inadvertently left it open, not that some conniving thief had wrangled his way in and left the door open as some kind of twisted signature. But who ever said worry is rational?
With my anxiety in high gear already, that was all it took to put me over the edge. As I drove the 67 miles home, I created multiple disaster scenarios in my head: Daniel was on an ambulance somewhere in Wisconsin, being pumped with liquids as they tried to save him from dehydration. Or maybe he’d gotten a flat tire and hitched a ride with the very same creepy guy who had broken into our house. Or most likely the thief was still camping out behind the couch in our living room, biding his time so he could jump me the moment I walked in the door.
Fortunately my husband is a patient man, and he let me cry it out over the phone while my incoherent fears came tumbling out.
When I finished blubbering, he said, “What time will you get home? I’ll call you back, and I’ll walk you in.”
When I hung up, I had a flash of realization: I’d just spent 40-some miles stewing and worrying and generally getting my panties in a bunch, but I hadn’t so much as whispered a prayer. How different would the trip home have been if I’d confessed my worry to God and asked him to stand guard over Daniel’s bicycle tires instead of going around and around on my gerbil wheel of worry?
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?
True to his word, Daniel called and walked me in when I arrived home. It turned out there was no crime scene, no trace of a sneaky garage thief. And several hours later Daniel arrived home in one piece, requiring no detours to the hospital.
God has promised to hold our hand as we go through whatever scary doors before us. But first we have to open our hand and let go of the worries we’re clinging to so tightly.
Only then can he grab our hand in his and walk us in.
I hold you by your right hand—
I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
“Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.”
This year Daniel made the same trek over Memorial Day weekend—all 67 miles again—only this time instead of scorching heat, there were threatening rainclouds. I still have a long way to go in the worrywart department, but this time I pictured God beside me, hanging on to my right hand as I drove. (Don’t worry, I kept the other hand on the wheel, just in case.)
We share this trait, Stephanie! I’m the queen of worry!
Stephanie Rische says
Linda, I love that we can turn our worries into prayer…it’s easier to that in community.
Nancy Rische says
I learned early that you showed you care about someone by worrying about them. While it isn’t true I still have to fight those feelings. And in reality Stephanie, even if all didn’t turn out perfectly we couldn’t change any of it by worrying. God is always in control even when it doesn’t look like it to us. Let’s all try to “let go and let God.” (Me included)
Stephanie Rische says
You’re so right, Nancy! And that son of yours does a good job being smart on his bike.
Well, one of us has to be smart on his bike 😉