The other day I was in my car getting ready to drive to work As I pushed down on the accelerator pedal the engine noise increased dramatically – but I didn’t move. Absentmindedly, I had moved the selector lever to “neutral” instead of “drive”.
I think worry is a lot like that. My brain is running, it’s making a lot of noise, (maybe even overheating) but I’m going nowhere. It even feels like I’m doing something, but in reality, nothing is happening of any value. There is no forward momentum.
I can tell you that I have spent a lot of time stuck in neutral in my lifetime. I’ll bet you have too. There have been situations (and seasons) where fear has gripped me and I have spent a lot of energy going through “what if” and “worst case” scenarios in my head.
I love this quote:
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” ~Mark Twain
Isn’t that true for you (not the old man part, necessarily)? I know it is for me. So many times I have found that my worry was in vain or at least overblown. As a result I suffered needlessly. I know that some of those times I could have taken some form of action that would not only have eased my fears, but actually minimized or prevented the loss. All I had needed to do was move the lever from neutral to drive and trusted God for the outcome.
Another quote I like is from Corrie ten Boom:
“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is to small to be made into a burden.”
Sometimes it seems the only action step we can take is prayer. But prayer is powerful, it is primary and it should be a first, not last resort. Often from prayer and meditation comes the next step. Yes, I forget, too.
Is worry inevitable? According to a Chinese proverb:
“That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”
I can’t control what comes at me, but I can control the amount of mental real estate I am willing to allocate to any particular issue. I do this by practicing self-soothing inner dialog and by thought shifting (refocusing) and prayer.
If you are unable to make any progress on your own – reach out!