What about worry?

It’s Monday Grace!

Why is it always 3 am? Suddenly, wide awake. Too early to get up. Too awake to go back to sleep. And then it starts. What about this? You should deal with that. Things forgotten or passed over during the day come back to haunt you at 3 am.

Did you realize this is a very common problem? The professionals think it has something to do with sleep cycles and habits. We wake up because we have come into a very light part of the cycle. Something, maybe a noise or just habit, pulls us abruptly out of sleep. But we aren’t ready to start the day, so we enter a “fight or flight” mode, a mild panic. You know, the kind of thing that happens when you wake suddenly. There is no danger, but the mind pulls up worries and fears that have been pushed aside during the day. So, we lay awake worrying with no real opportunity to do anything. (After all, no one will appreciate your apology at 3 am.)

Just because it can be explained doesn’t make it easier.

In the morning, it usually doesn’t seem as bad. Yet, many of those worries were not just dreams. Many of them were sort of real. What about the kids? What about Grandma? What about taxes? What about the bills?

Of course, these worries don’t come only at night. The day might have distractions to help take our minds from them, but they are still there and still real.

By this time, most of you know what I will say: trust the Lord! But let me explain more. Fear is given to us to help us recognize and remember risk and danger. We don’t want to forget the things that hurt us. So, we remember them and avoid them in the future. Fear is that awareness, that trigger, that tells us there is risk in certain actions or situations.

Worry is when we focus on the risk. Worry takes fear a step further. Worry assumes the risk is real, that there is reason for the concern. But worry does not look to the solution.

Imagine that you are faced with a large solid fence and a single gate. You don’t know what’s on the other side of the fence, but you are supposed to go there. Fear tells you there is a risk. Worry focuses your mind on the risk, on what could be on the other side. If you ever get the courage to open the gate and step through, you will find, according to some people, that 80-90 percent of the things you worried about would never happen. There is no monster, no sudden drop off, no enemy. About 10 percent of the things might happen. There might be a barking dog. There might be unknown people. But maybe not. Only about 3% of our worries actually have substance, and most of those we can’t do anything about.

The point, of course, is that we really should teach ourselves to look to the Lord who loves us. He knows what’s on the other side. He knows what will be needed. Because He loves you, He is probably already preparing circumstances and you to meet whatever comes up. Those taxes will get done. Grandma will be OK, or not. The kids will walk their own paths.

So many things in life are not ours to fix. They shouldn’t be ours to worry over either. Give those things to Jesus. Even at 3 am. Just turn them over to Him, plan to do what you need to do the next day, and wait for His answers. Then go back to sleep.

Grace doesn’t fix the car (at least not without a miracle). Grace is the loving Lord providing the money or the person to get it fixed. Grace is the release you feel when you understand that you don’t have to worry because the One who can fix things loves you. Grace lets you see the Solution.

*****

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “What about worry?

  1. Batya Ahul

    I used to wake with night terrors- these could be terrifying- feeling like I was suffocating, demonic images, feelings of intense fear & palpitations. Reciting simple scripture had been my best method of recovery I haven’t experienced one of these for many years, praise Him.
    In recent years I would have a recurring dream about being trapped in an ex boyfriends house (I have been happily married for 10 years). In the dream I would always try and escape before he got home- I would never escape and he would never make it home. It was a different house each time but I knew it was his. I found these dreams very distressing but fortunately after receiving some prayer I have not experienced this recurring dream for some time. We are incredibly vulnerable when we’re asleep!

  2. New Creature

    I keep my phone on the nightstand. When I wake at 3:00 am, almost every night, I put in 1 earbud and listen to the audio Bible with a 20 minute sleep timer. Listening to scripture keeps me from thinking about my worries and I usually fall back asleep fairly quickly. When I don’t, I set it for another 20 minutes an pray through the scripture as I am listening. I keep doing that until I fall asleep again. I feel like Abba/Daddy is reading me a bedtime story and I am falling asleep in His arms. (BTW, The earbud just falls out when I roll over.)

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