When Worry Threatens to Ruin You

pray


I told worry to take a hike once and for all.

I used the words in my son’s favorite Dr. Seuss book, “Please go now!” Except maybe I didn’t say, “please.”

My fight with worry started last week when my oldest child’s parent-teacher conference was approaching. Our record with parent-teacher conferences isn’t exactly the greatest. Most of them involve me sitting on the other side of the table feeling as though I am the only advocate for my child.

Don’t get me wrong. I love teachers. Some of the most influential people in my life have been teachers. Some of the best ones saw qualities in me I never saw in myself.

But when it comes to my six-year-old, the track record has not been stellar. Usually I leave the conference asking myself, “Am I missing something here?”

So, I wasn’t sure if I was going to schedule a conference. It was, after all, optional. Maybe we could just use a day off.

But I had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach. My first grader was coming up with negative reports on his behavior. My husband and I were working through it but I didn’t feel like we were getting to the bottom of the cause.

That’s when my inner worrier kicked in. My mind raced ahead to endless possibilities of what would happen if this problem continued. It raced ahead of God’s grace and provision into the unknown.

Into a place where I had no control.

Into the classroom at the conference, imagining conversations that would never take place. It really got quite ridiculous.

So, against what I thought was better judgment, I scheduled the conference. I prayed for God to be present and for his Spirit to guide us in asking the right questions.

As my husband and I sat talking with my son’s teacher, I could not have been more surprised. She was understanding. She wanted to work with us as a team. She knew that it was a long day for a six-year-old.

Afterwards, as I reflected on the words exchanged, I realized all my worrying had been for nothing. I praised God for the peace I now had.

And then I wondered, if the conference had not gone well would my worrying have changed anything? No. No, it wouldn’t.

In Philippians Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

But he doesn’t just give us instruction. He also gives us a promise for what will happen when we do this. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

When we pray through circumstances we can’t control, we place our faith in a God who is in control.

When we offer praise and thanksgiving even though we’re unsure of the outcome, we find peace.

So that day after the conference, I sent worry packing. I know he’ll try to rear his head again soon. And when he does, I will remember the words of Paul.

I will remember in the midst of situations I can’t predict, I can trust the One who goes before me.

I can give thanks even in the unknown.

 

*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.

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24 thoughts on “When Worry Threatens to Ruin You

  1. Even though my boys are now grown I could relate to this so well. I remember all to clearly the days of worrying as teacher conference approached. I was rather good at playing out how they would go. This gives such a great example, Abby, of how we need to give our worries to God. He already knows the outcome. And such truth that even if that outcome had been different for you what would have all that worrying changed. We can always trust Him to see us through. Great post, friend. xoxo

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  2. Thanks so much for posting. I really needed to read your words tonight. I home school and we are having some behavior issues. I wonder if my son has ADD. Honestly I have know idea. He just doesn’t seem to be able to focus. He is in Kindergarten for the second time. I worry like crazy that he is going to fail and that I am going to mess him up. I have all these negative fears going on in my head. It’s ridiculous. Prayer and surrendering is the way to go. When I put my faith in God, I respond when things go well. When I lean into my worry I react and make things a bigger issue than they really are. Great post

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    • Oh Lisa, I can definitely relate. I pray that you’re able to find the right approach for your son. I know that at that age, the day is especially long for them. I think for boys it’s even harder, actually. A friend of mine recently tried some calming essential oils for her son who was having similar problems and she said they worked really well. Blessings to you, friend!

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  3. Too often I find myself mentally creating circumstances that simply do not exist. And I wear myself out in the process. This is a great reminder.

    We had similar conferences when my son was much younger. Some were great, others … Not so much. He is in high school now and doing well! Whatever road you choose, it will be ok. It’s clear you are seeking God’s best for him.

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    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Dianne! I know my son will be ok. He’s a smart boy. It’s just a long day for him. Boys sometimes just have to be boys. 🙂

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  4. Your post made me smile to know I must be in good company at imagining conversations that never took place, or ever would. It was when I read the verses after the one you shared in Philippians, up to vs 8.. thinking on those things that are true, lovely and of a good report that I am starting to ( haven’t gotten it yet) see things from a perspective which God would have me look. I learned that I need to start seeing the best in others and looking at them as positive rather than reflecting the fears that my heart was conjuring up.

    Glad you were able to kick this baggage to the curb, Abby!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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  5. Yes, Abby, this is another great reminder from you. I have those crazy head conversations, too…remember my kids killing each other on a blanket in the hay field? Yeah, so crazy! But it happens and we need the constant reminder of Who is in control. So thank you…I find myself worrying about much that I needn’t lately. And so glad to hear your sons teacher was helpful and everyone is working on the same page. Always good!! xoxo

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    • Me too, Meredith. He really does have a great teacher and I’m so grateful. I’m glad I’m not the one with these crazy thoughts. Let’s fix our minds on the Truth and work on this together. Love you!

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  6. I’m a natural worrier, and becoming a mom has made that tendency even worse. It’s so true that in the end, worrying accomplishes nothing; it doesn’t change the outcome. It’s really just a missed opportunity to lean on God!

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  7. Worry can really mess with our minds, creating all sorts of fictional stories and outcomes. It’s sure hard not to sometimes, isn’t it? Thank you for the hope I needed this week – “When we pray through circumstances we can’t control, we place our faith in a God who is in control.” Really need that!

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  8. Abby,
    Worry and I are old acquaintances. It is so hard to not let your mind wonder. I am learning to take every thought captive and obedient unto Christ. Thank you for this reminder today. Visiting from Meredith’s page.

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    • Thank you so much for visiting, Jennifer. Yes, worry and I are old acquaintances too but I am also learning to train my mind on the Truth. We can do this!

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  9. ” I realized all my worrying had been for nothing.” Isn’t that the truth! I’m a worrier by nature, too Abby. You’ve told a great story today and written a great post. This is so good. We can all relate to this story. We all worry over our kids. So many little things in life to worry about if we let it invade our thoughts. I’m telling worry to go, too!

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  10. Abby, wow. I totally get your worry-thing. But I love the conclusion!! Yes, giving thanks in all circumstances is to approach a situation with hands open, not clinched in control. When I read your blog, I seriously always leave with a lighter spirit. And that’s saying a lot, obviously!!

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  11. Oh, I have some parent-teacher conference horror stories from our daughters’ years in elementary school (the teacher had a hard time maintaining a learning environment and spent a lot of time giving attention to the squeaky wheels and let our girls muddle along)–and my husband and I are both educators :(. I’ve also been on the receiving end of helicopter parents who think the fault is all mine that their child doesn’t have an A in my class. Sigh. Education is a three-legged stool. The student forms one leg, the parents the other and the teacher the third. It’s all about teamwork. I’m glad things worked out for you (I tend to over analyze and worry too much, too) and that you approached the meeting with prayer so that God could work in the situation!

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  12. My son always had extra comments that made me wonder if my beautiful, bright guy was doing okay, if I was messing up as a mom. . . today that little guy is a man and an extraordinary human being, father, and husband. He speaks all over the world, and that energy that was a problem in the shaping stage is exactly what makes him great at what he does as an adult. ❤ Hang in there, mom!

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