I am a self-admitted recovering worryaholic.
I use the word ‘recovering’ because I’ve turned a corner in the way that I process worry these days; which I define as any fear, founded or unfounded, of future events (or FOF – fear of the future). Recovery has been a long process for me because, y’all, I am genetically inclined to worry about everything…and hard!
After years of worrying, I began my recovery with this one step: accepting the fact that we have zero control over anything. Now notice I said accept, not realize or understand. Sure, there are many areas of our lives that we control up to a certain point. However, the things that we tend to worry about, typically are over outcomes that were never in our control in the first place. Does that ring true with you? Hence, why we worry – it keeps us involved in a process that we are kicked out of in the first place!
Being pregnant this year- in the age of the internet, resource sharing and easy information accessibility- has sometimes been a challenge mentally. I’ve had to work in over-drive to keep my FOF in check. I’ve read so many tragic personal stories on blog sites, I’ve cried and prayed over women and strangers that I don’t know personally. And last week, like many across the world, I sat staring dumbfounded at my television as the slaughter in Paris slowly unfolded. I saw a pregnant woman hanging from a balcony and I shook for her. I am constantly shaking for men, women, and children all around the world. My husband tells me to stay off the internet, but I want to feel the feelings as they say, I want to be a support to people and their personal stories, even if it’s just through thoughts and prayers. I don’t want to be ignorant and oblivious to what people are going through. I am always striving to find the healthy balance between empathy and FOF, and that can be a huge challenge for us worryaholics altogether. The more I tune in to the world, slowly but surely, the FOF starts creeping back in.
Because, friends, you just never know.
We don’t know and we can’t plan. I repeat: we cannot plan. I know, I know, I don’t like it either. In fact it’s taken me years to say those words out loud! A lot of the time, most of the time, we can only react, and make the best possible life choices with what is thrown our way every day.
As I feel my baby move, I feel her alive and safe inside me-it is another simple reminder of hope for the future. And hope beats fear every time. I will do everything in my power to protect her and each of my children, but, at the end of the day, I can only control so much, and the rest will be put into God’s hands.
There is so much good in the world, and goodness in our lives, and worrying clouds that goodness and can take over. I’ve lived it. And that’s where I’m at in my worry-recovery and fears for the future. I refuse to let it consume me anymore. I refuse to be paralyzed with fear of the unknown…at least until my children reach the teenage years and start driving and dating.
But then again, you just never know.