(Inside: Better understanding why moms worry and steps to let it go.)
My son’s arms and legs were covered with a worrisome rash.
So I took him to the doctor and was assured I shouldn’t be concerned. The red splotches peppering his body was not dangerous or contagious, but it would take ten days to a month to go away. The doctor showed me on the computer what it was and even other possibilities of what it could be and explained why he ruled out each other option and narrowed down his diagnosis. The doctor was confident, intelligent and thorough in his explanation; I left his office feeling relieved.
But then, a few days I worried as a drove to work. Then again, as I drove home. And when I tucked my son into bed. Then, the next morning. (You see where this is going…)
Now, I know it is in the nature of mothers to worry about their children, but I overachieve in this area. I know it isn’t good for me – it isn’t good for any of us moms. Web MD talks about how worrying increases anxiety and unrealistic fears (Check and check.) Web MD continues:
“Chronic worrying can affect your daily life so much that it may interfere with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette smoking, or using alcohol and drugs.”
(Okay – maybe I should pay attention to this annoying “little” habit of mine. I should start figuring out why maybe that’ll help me find a solution.)
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There are lots of reasons why we worry: perfectionist tendencies, over-caring about what others think, negative thinking..etc. As I sort through the “whys” I stumble upon one big reason:
Worry makes us feel like we are doing something. For me, it’s my way of saying to God, please, please, please – listen to my prayer. I am spending all this time worrying, so now you know how serious I am. I’m doing my part – so please, answer my prayer.
But, mommas – God doesn’t work like that. We don’t have to work for his love – that goes against the fundamental principals of Christianity.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV)
God gives us salvation through his grace and the gift of Jesus, not because we did enough “right things.” There is no scale measuring the good and the bad and seeing which side tips more. We believe and ask to be “in” and we are. Done deal.
So, we don’t have to excessively worry to get God’s attention. So we can freely move forward with steps to tame worry:
1. Set a time to worry. Each day, give yourself a set amount of time to think about and lay your worry at God’s feet. No worrying outside of that time.
2. If you worry outside of your set time firmly tell yourself: “I’ve prayed about this. Worrying is NOT doing something and will NOT make God listen to me more.” (Download this scripture verse onto your phone, so you can look at it and remind yourself of this truth.)
3. Do something to distract yourself from the worry.
4. If worry comes back again turn it into praise: Thank you, God, for loving me. Thank you, God. for saving me by grace.
5. Do something to distract yourself from the worry.
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, educator, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration in parenting, family connection ideas, encouragement for moms, and more empowering content. Read more in the “about” section of this page.