Articles

What Kind of Worrier Are You?

For many years of my life, Worrier was my middle name. In fact, the beginning of most of my thoughts started with the same two-word phrase, “What if…?” Those thoughts usually ended with me dissolving into a pile of defeated tears. During one season of my life that I refer to as the “dark years” our family was struggling in all areas of life due to a variety of unexpected hardships. Each day, my list of what if worries grew like adding cars onto the back of an already long train.

Did you know that the word worry actually means “to strangle or torture”? Worry begins when we ask what if questions about uncertain situations we can’t control. Without knowing how things will turn out, we often answer those what if questions with the worst-case scenario endings. For example, if your boss asks you to drop by her office before you leave for the day, you might begin wondering, “What if she doesn’t like the report I’ve done?” or “What if I lose my job?” Without a way to know the answer, your mind starts running a mental movie starring you. As the scenes unfold, you see yourself unemployed, unhappy, hungry and homeless on the street. By the time your mental movie ends, your heartbeat is racing, you’ve got a queasy stomach, and your entire afternoon is ruined.

Most of what we worry about won’t actually happen, but that doesn’t stop us from worrying. 

In my book, Winning the Worry Battle, I identify four different types of worriers and how they act out worry in their lives.

  1. Silent Sufferer: stuffs their worries deep inside and doesn’t talk about them
  2. Mother Hen: often nags others to try to reduce stress and anxiety
  3. Busy Body: constant activity because unfinished tasks or projects create stress and worry
  4. Control Freak: maneuvers or manipulates others in order to reduce inner anxiety

Which one can you relate to? For me there was always something to be worried about so I tried to control things until God allowed a few situations in my life which I couldn’t control. That was God’s invitation to turn my fears and worries over to Him! That’s when I finally won my worry battle. I’ve since made heart-felt amends with my family members because my worry deeply affected their lives.

No matter what kind of worrier you are, I think you already know this: worrying doesn’t work. Like the saying, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” Jesus pointed this out to us long ago. In Matthew 6, he was talking to a group of people on a hillside. I think Jesus knew there were all types of worriers standing and listening to him that day. In verse 27 (NLT), Jesus challenges us with the following words:

“Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life?” 

My friend, make today the last day that you let fear or worry steal the best and precious moments of your life!

When Life Hurts

 

By now, many of you have heard the news about the passing of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. No matter the surrounding circumstances, suicide is a tragedy. My heart breaks for their family and friends. As is the case with many suicides, it seems there are more questions than answers.

I believe part of the problem lies in our failure to talk about suicide, openly. You’ll probably run across fundraisers and suicide awareness posts on social media, but few people take the time to discuss this important topic.

I’m here to do just that.

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Being Vulnerable

Something that just popped into my mind is how much easier it is to be vulnerable about something that happened in the past versus what is happening right now.

See, when we open up about something that is from the past – an obstacle, struggle, or difficult time in our life – we are sharing about something that is over with. We aren’t still enduring this pain, or at least we have had time to cool off from it. We can talk about how we have overcome it and we are stronger now.

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Dunkirk

One of my favorite aspects about Christopher Nolan’s film, Dunkirk, is also one of its most confusing, at least at first. The movie chronicles the evacuation of Belgian, British, and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, France during WWII. The army was saved from annihilation by the Germans via a flotilla of civilian small boats which crossed the English Channel to rescue close to 300,000 troops and bring them back to England to fight another day.

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Wonder

Do you know how hard it is to be good? Of course you do. We all have times when we strive to be our best selves and operate in ways that put others first. And rarely is it easy. It involves overcoming challenges, including the proclivity toward selfishness and other less-than-helpful habits. That effort should make for interesting stories because great stories have great conflict, even (or maybe especially) when the conflict is internal.
So why then, do most authors, actors and directors tell us how boring it is to write, play or direct the good guys? “Give us the villains,” they say. Bad guys are more complex, more interesting. The good guys are all one-dimensional and about as captivating as reruns of the National Dog Show regional championships.

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