Do We Build our Own Dragons Sometimes? Part II (for KDL)

16 Oct

I had a favorite high school teacher who once wrote to me (when I was in college), “Man, Mary, you are even more of a worrier than I am . . .”  I think she and I were covering the 24-hour day by taking shifts worrying about things that could happen!!!

Thing is that, even at 55, after a lifetime of growth and sanctification as a Christian, I can still be a worrier.  And that is even with 55 years in my rearview mirror to remind me of how good God is.

I am a worrier in spite of the fact that the luxury of worrying about potential disasters is very much a first world problem.  The rest of the world is too busy dealing with current disasters to have the time to worry about upcoming disasters that could occur!

I am a worrier in spite of the fact that I have never lost a home to any cause, natural or otherwise.  This is despite living along the East Coast and weathering several hurricanes.

I am a worrier in spite of the fact that I have only been in two traffic accidents, from which I walked away.  My husband has been in two, same deal.

I am a worrier although I have lived much of my life in urban areas and have never been in a mugging or a robbery.  No one I know has been murdered.

I am a worrier although my identity has never been stolen and any viruses we got on our computer network were eradicated with a minimum of cost.

I am a worrier despite the fact that I have only been unemployed for four months of my adult life, right after I retired from the Navy.

I am a worrier despite the fact that I have been in excellent health most of my life and in fact have never even broken a bone.

There is some evidence that the tendency to worry is genetic.  I believe that.  I have had friends go through most of the above circumstances.  Most of those friends have far less of a tendency to worry than I do, even after going through a disaster.

There is a slight correlation between being a worrier and being able to head off disaster by adequately preparing for it.  But, for a worrier, the worry doesn’t stop once the preparations have been made.  We keep a hurricane survival kit in our home every year because that is prudent in our area of the country.  But, once the kit is built, I should cease worrying about hurricanes because there is nothing more I can do to mitigate their effects.  That doesn’t always happen.  I have spent more than one hurricane season worrying about all of the effects a hurricane could have on us!

See where I am going with this?  I build my own dragons sometimes.  And, yes, that is a first world problem to have.  And, yes, it probably does have a genetic component.  And, yes, I probably have staved off a couple of disasters by thinking in advance how I would handle them,  But the rest of life is so beyond our control, and so only in God’s hands, that it is foolish for me to think my worrying has anything to do with outcomes.

When I worry, I make myself a mini-god.  I assign far more control to myself than I could ever realistically possess.  That is where worry crosses over into being sin.  It puts me in God’s place, in so many ways.

And, in the end, the things we worry about are never the actual crises we face.  It is far better to conserve our energy for an actual crisis.  In my life, there have been two:  my breast cancer (which was totally unexpected–I never worried about that) and our son’s autism (also a bolt out of the blue).    

So . . . to recap, I have built and fought many dragons all life long, but the ones that were actual dragons took me completely by surprise.  And, even in my surprise, God gave me the strength to deal with my very real crises from day to day.  

He is a good God like that! 





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