Tag Archives: Christianity

Confessions of a Worry Wart

19 Feb

“It was the spring of my junior year of high school — a particularly stressful time for many students. I had schoolwork to do, APs to study for, nightly soccer practice, and pit band rehearsal for the school musical. To put it lightly, I was overloaded.

One night while I was sitting in my final dress rehearsal for the school play, I started thinking about my boyfriend. We’d been dating since the beginning of the school year, and because he was my first boyfriend, I was very inexperienced when it came to relationships. As I was sitting in rehearsal that night, thoughts about our relationship just kept popping up in my head. Where was our relationship going? Was it a good, healthy relationship? What was it really based on?

While these were normal questions for anyone to ask, my reactions to them were both mentally and physically overwhelming. I couldn’t focus on playing my music, and I started breathing too quickly and trembling, convinced that my boyfriend would dump me and my world would fall apart. I kept imagining only the worst outcomes from this situation, until finally I couldn’t sit with the band anymore.” (story from kidshealth.org)

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A True Worry Wart

I don’t know about you but I tend to WORRY about everything. I shared the above story because I related closely to this girl’s situation (except for the being in a play part- NEVER gonna happen, lol). I am a tried and true “glass is half empty” thinker. I like to think of the worst-case scenario first. Then I won’t be disappointed later right? Here is my list of things that have caused me the most anxiety throughout my life (so far):

  1. My grades in school. Whenever I took a test, I would study for hours, days- however long it took for me to ingest as much material as possible. After said test, I would call my mom wailing, “I failed it, I just know I did!” Guess what? I never failed one test- In fact, I graduated at the top of my class both in high school and in college. So much wasted time worrying… for absolutely nothing.
  2. My looks. Oh boy, this is a big one for me! Not so much anymore but when I was younger, being in crowds was difficult for me. I would always think to myself, “is my outfit out of place?” or “I wonder if that group is whispering about me and the huge red pimple on my face?” Bah- I could go on and on. Most of the time, I preferred to stay in the comfort of my room with my books and fashion magazines. What I came to realize is that whenever I was in a group or at a party, I spent the whole time worrying about what others thought of me rather than enjoying myself. No one had to ruin it for me- I did a fantastic job of that on my own. I’ll let you in on a little secret: PEOPLE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO TALK ABOUT THAN YOU. When I went away to college I found that I actually had a passion for public speaking and communications. Go figure.
  3. Boys. In high school, I did not have one date- I’m not kidding you- NOT ONE! I went stag to the prom, and spent most of my days, weekends, and nights studying for AP classes. Deep inside, I wanted a boyfriend so badly. What was wrong with me? Was I too fat? My hair too red? My skin too pale? Was I too smart? Ack! It wasn’t until college that I discovered my “feminine mystique” if you will. As I became more confident, I got asked out more. This is not to promote dating a bunch of guys. I’ve shared before that I have not had many boyfriends but unfortunately have been on far too many dates than I would like to admit to. If the right guy hasn’t come along don’t waste your time worrying about what’s keeping him from you. Have fun with friends- you won’t ever regret that decision!
  4. Finances. If you’re in high school, this may not pertain to you but be advised, financial worries are lurking around the corner. It’s very difficult these days to be a self-sufficient young woman with student loans, rent, car expenses, and not to mention sky-rocketing gas prices. Learn this valuable lesson while you are young: Trust God with all your financial needs. When we are obedient in tithing and paying our bills, God will shower you with his blessing. He may not bring you what you want but you can guarantee that he will shower you with what you need.
  5. Am I “Good Enough?” As I begin my new job do I really have the skills to be successful? What happens if I fail? What if nothing ever comes from this blog? What if I heard God wrong? What if I won’t make a good wife someday? I still struggle with this one…

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Worry is a Sin

The bible tells us specifically not to worry- more than once. God knew he would have to mention it several times to get this concept through our thick skulls- I just know it. See the following passages:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?… Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 25-27, 34)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

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Reasons Not To Worry: (From Matthew 6: 25-34)

  • You should be able to trust the God who created you int he first place! (6:25)
  • Worrying about the future ruins the present (6:26)
  • Worrying is more harmful to you. Reality check: IT DOES NOT HELP (6:27)
  •   If we depend on God- we will not be IGNORED (6:28-30)
  • Worry shows a lack of faith (6:32)
  • There are real challenges God wants us to pursue, and worrying just keeps us from them. (6:33)
  • We should live one day at a time (6:34)

You see, God really does want us to enjoy our lives. He is not sitting up in the sky, looking down us from a cloud and striking humankind with lightning bolts just to make our lives miserable. He doesn’t want us to waste the precious time we have left here on earth stressing about things that will not matter in the future- God is far more interested in using us for his glory. Every person on this earth has something to worry about. What God really is asking us to do is to take our worries, roll them up in a ball and toss them to him. Not only is he a great catcher, he is more than capable to handle the heavy burdens that bog us down.

Whenever I get caught up in the worries of my own life, I like to listen to this song:

Come to me, you weary one.
And I will give you rest, I will give you rest.
Come to me, you weary one.
And I will give you rest, I will give you rest.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Take me upon you. I will give you rest.

Come to me, you broken one.
And I will give you peace, I will give you peace.
Come to me, you broken one.
And I will give you peace, I will give you peace.
I will calm your waters, and I will whisper,
“Peace be still.”
Take me upon you. I will give you peace.

Come to me, you burdened one.
And I will give you joy, I will give you joy.
Come to me, you burdened one.
And I will give you joy, I will give you joy.
You will rise like eagles, and my joy shall
be your strength.
Take me upon you. I will give you joy.

Come to Me By Kari Jobe

Listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvzznNAcL24

Be anxious for nothing.

~AJ

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Dusting out the Corners

7 Feb

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Inspiration from the Bathroom (Seriously)

Just a couple days ago I found myself in another one of my cleaning moods. I do this when I’m nervous, anxious, or when I just need something to keep my hands busy.  As I crouched to scrub the bottom half of the toilet (so glamorous a task- I know!) I looked over into the corner between the toilet and the bathtub. ACK! The corner was disgustingly dirty! I must have forgotten to clean it out the last few times I performed this dastardly chore. The bathroom and I have a long-term oxymoronic relationship: I hate to clean it yet I cannot stand to use it unless it is clean. With the holidays and my sisters around well, there were more fun things with which to focus my attention. The ugly corner was such a small space, so easily overlooked (unless you’re my mom) yet at the same time needing just as much attention as the rest of the bathroom.

That little nagging corner got me thinking as I scrubbed the dirt away- how many dirty things are lurking in the corners of my own heart that I consider too small to be of importance?  Yes, I’m working on the big things, the important mountains I must face in my life, but are there little flaws that are sitting in the corner just waiting to be cleaned out as well?

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One Corner Cleaned

A prime example: Just yesterday I was talking on the phone with someone about running. When the other person assumed I had run outside in the snow rather than on the treadmill- I didn’t bother to correct them. It made me sound better to have them assume that, so why not? After I got off the phone, my mom challenged me. If I want God’s blessing on my life, then I need to have more integrity than that. She was so right! I felt convicted and immediately asked God to forgive me- because I do want his blessing. I want a life full of complete honesty and integrity.  That was one dusty little corner that needed attention!

The Measure of Sin

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

Let me begin by defining sin: We sin by either not doing what God requires of us or by doing what He has forbidden us to do. Sin can occur in one of three ways: thought, word, or deed. To God, all sin is equal- there is no “little white lie,” or “bending the truth.” He considers a small lie equal to betrayal or even murder! This does not mean sin is equal in seriousness however. Obviously there will be more consequences for someone who murders another.  In Luke, he clearly states that there are different degrees of punishment:

Luke 12:47-48 (NLT)

47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

Under His Grace

The good news underlying this conviction is that God will ALWAYS forgive us. He doesn’t ever hold grudges or play the petty games your friends might. He only requires a heart humble enough to come to him for grace.

Ephesians 1:6-10 (NIV)

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[a] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

According to Acts 2:21, this forgiveness is available to ALL who come to him.

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Challenge

I challenge you this week to examine your hearts, and clean out some of those small, dusty corners. Did you copy your homework from someone else? Did you call in sick to work so that you could go hang out at them mall with your friends? Did you blame that broken vase on the dog, knowing you were the one who knocked it over?

These things may seem small, but in God’s eyes, there are no gray areas. His law is clear- and we are either following it or against it. If you do mess up? No sweat- simply repent and ask God to help you the next time. We are all human- and we’re all going to fail at some point. What matters is how you react when you do.

Live your life with integrity and you will not be able to imagine how wonderful God’s reward is.

~AJ

 

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