On Worry ...
Last week I went to visit my OB for a checkup. We began to talk about delivery dates, as I am having a cesarean section with our second child. The doctor selected a date that is about one week before what I expected. I left the office totally panicked. I would need to totally readjust my plan for wrapping things up in the office, I would need to contact the supply priest and make sure the Sunday before was still available, and I would need to talk to my mother about flying out earlier to come help us with our 4-year old – just to name a few things on my panic list. Of course, about an hour later, I realized how silly my panic was in the grand scheme of things. The truth is that I could go into labor at any point, and any “plans” I had made would be thrown out anyway. The idea that one week was sending me into such a panic was only confirmation that I still hold on to some false idea about the level of control I exert over my life.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is from Matthew.“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? – Matthew 6:25-27 Although I know the truth of this passage about our relationship between trust and God, I find that I am always returning to it, never fully mastering it. In fact, I am not even sure that I have partially mastered it.
My only saving grace has been becoming a parent. I have often joked that God knew what God was doing when God made me a parent. Perhaps God knew that the only way I would really start to believe that I could trust God was to throw someone in my life whom I have very little control over – a microcosm of the larger world. That point has been resurfacing several times for me lately. When school is cancelled because of snow, I have no way of attacking my work in the same way that I would if she were in school. When the roads become too dangerous for driving on my day off with my daughter (i.e., “errand day”), those groceries that we just cannot live without suddenly become groceries we can live without. Just today, another school weather-related cancellation day, as I was scrambling around trying to figure out how to busy my daughter while getting a little work done, my daughter asked if she could make Valentine’s Day cards for her classmates. My immediate thought was, “No, I don’t have time to sit with you and do that.” But I took a breath and considered her proposal. One, we would be able to do something together that we would not normally do. Two, the task would certainly entertain my daughter, which is pretty much golden on a snow day. Three, making homemade Valentine’s is super cute, and something I never would have made time for otherwise. So, I exhaled in defeat, and we both gathered the necessary supplies. And it turns out that making homemade Valentine’s is pretty fun, and can even be a creative outlet for stress reduction.
So today, I am thankful for the God who puts people in my life to force me to be a better person of faith. I am grateful for God’s awesome and powerful creation, who has certainly taught me a few lessons this winter about the fruitlessness of worry. And I am blessed by the God who reminds me in small and large ways that I cannot, “worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6.34