I am a worst-case scenario worrier.
I have this natural tendency to immediately process every possible thing that could go wrong in any given circumstance. I run all the things through my mind at rapid speed, over and over again, and land on the unimaginable—the most horrific outcome that could possibly take place. This is not a good thing. It can be rather debilitating, actually.
When I had kids, these lovely, little incessant fears grew into an avalanche of anxiety that would erupt with a thundering outpouring of terrifying ideas spiraling into my head, burying me in a heap of dark, damp doom.
And as my kids grow up and spend more and more time away from me—making their own choices, and doing their own things, and building their own lives—all the worst-case scenario worries grow more feverish and thrive on every what if I claim.
This constant state of distress over my kids’ safety and health is exhausting and leads me through countless tunnels of questioning and dank spaces full of chilling emptiness that God never intended for me to dwell in, much less create. I know this.
I know God cares deeply about the state of my unrest, and He never wanted me to live this way.
So, when my worries consume me, He reminds me I can place that heavy burden of anxiety on Him.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”(1 Peter 5:7, NIV).
And I’m grateful He taught me how to do this, how to pour it all out in prayer and how to trust in the peace He will bring me, full of the assurance that goes beyond my understanding.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7, NIV)
I know God did not place this fear in me. He never wants me to unravel out of control with my worries.
I know He created me to live filled with the Spirit’s outpouring of love, and of power, and of a sound mind.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV).
And He reminds me over and over again that everything we go through will work out according to His plan.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
I know He is passionate about loving us with His unfailing love, no matter how many times we fail to love Him in return. And loving Him looks like trusting Him, which means I must surrender my thoughts to Him and replace them with all that is worthy of praise.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Phil 4:8, NIV).
And when I do what He requires of me to walk in faith, when I keep my eyes on Him and stop looking at all the worst-case scenario what ifs . . .
The mounds of darkness melt and filters of His light and warmth set me free from this stronghold of captivity.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Psalm 16:8, NIV).
I let go of the worst-case scenario worries that fill my mind and replace them with His best-case scenarios that have stood the test of time: His promises and His Truth that are for me, and for all His children.
Being a worst-case scenario worrier is my greatest weakness, my largest thorn, my biggest stumbling block on the well-worn path I’ve walked with Jesus. And it is right there in that dark, dingy place of fear where I meet Him most.
It reminds me that it’s because of this terrible trait, I have learned to solely depend on Him as I continue to cling closer and closer to the rock in whom I take refuge, the redeemer and healer and love of my life.
“But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (Psalm 94:22, NIV).
That is the gift of knowing Him.
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26, NIV).