I remember lying terrified in bed one sleepless night when I was little, clutching my small, squirming dog close to me and sweating through my pj’s while I stared at my closet – watching the handle intently to make sure it didn’t move. I had recently heard a scary story about a mysterious old chest. It was never absolutely clear, but the story alluded to the fact that it captured people. That was when I started needing my closet closed every night and a bright night light. If I could just stay awake and watch the closet door – nothing could hurt me. I just had to keep everything where I could see it.
Fast forward three decades. With my spouse cuddled next to me in bed I no longer need a night light and my closet doors are rarely shut tight. No, all that worry has now moved to the inside. Instead of keeping my eyes peeled and on the lookout, I now have a Worry Search Engine that whirs constantly in the back of my brain looking for signs of trouble. You see, if I constantly keep watch, nothing too bad can hurt me; I can stay ahead of it and avoid great trouble… right?
So, I have a few moments every day, and often one in the wee hours of the morning, where dread washes over me and I think,” What is it? What is the imminent danger?” And I access my Worry Search Engine for the worst possible thing that could have happened. Did I inadvertently break a law? Did I accidentally say something that could have harmed a relationship? Did I forget something important? Did I leave a toaster on in my home? It could be anything – but it is always something I cannot confirm readily, something that is not easily fixed and that makes me feel guilty and helpless.
Yesterday, as I walked out of the grocery store, my brain began to attempt to access my Worry Search Engine and all of the sudden I had a new thought – a bright, shiny, not-from-me kind of thought.
What if I don’t have to identify what the worst thing is that might threaten me in the moment? What if, whatever trouble may come, God is big enough to handle it? I mean, God has been with me through every trouble I have ever faced. He has kept hold of my hand and never let go. What if I can rest securely and then, when trouble actually happens, face it with Him?
“What if?” indeed.
And so today, I wonder if the second step in my new 2015 Pre-Launch Sequence is to turn off the Worry Search Engine and put my trust in God-- instead of myself-- to keep me safe and help me through every trouble when, and if, it comes.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
What do you do when your Worry Search Engine starts whirring?