As childhood's go, I had the best! I was privileged, as the oldest (and only) child, to get to participate in all the fun activities that mom's would put their kids in (seven kids later, and the youngest is lucky to get a birthday cake because things are so chaotic). Ballet, gymboree, swim lessons, play dates, you name it, I did it. I lived in an extremely secure environment without an apparent worry in the world. Kids aren't supposed to worry about things, they aren't supposed to even know what day it is! Me, on the other hand, became quite the worry wart at a fairly young age. I wasn't worried or scared ALL of the time, but I did go through seasons of some ridiculously irrational fears!
We are studying John MacArthur's book "Anxious for Nothing" in a bible study that Mr. Clean and I go to. I just started the book and it has reminded me of all of the things that I have worried about as a kid and all of the things that I worry about today! Some are so ridiculous, but they consumed me for the longest time!
Things I have wasted time worrying about:
- when I was 5, I saw my mom watching a special on childhood cancer. After that, I wanted to sleep with a shower cap on my head to keep my hair from falling out.
- when I was 6, I went to my first sleep-over and witnessed a brain surgery on 20/20 and wanted to go home immediately, and I can't remember when I actually wanted to sleep away from home again. Heck, I can't remember how long it took me to leave the floor of my parents room after that.
- When I was 6, I was so worried about my parents dying, I actually had to see a counselor at our church. She gave me a picture book about dying and going to heaven.
- When I was 7, I hated visiting my mema in Florida for fear of her dying and then all the old people on the street kicking the bucket at the same time, leaving me and my little sister to fend for ourselves.
- When I was 8, I was worried about shrinking. Yes, you read that right. I saw the movie "The Incredible Shrinking Woman" with Lily Tomlin and it gripped me with fear! I measured myself every.single.morning to make sure I was not shrinking.
- When I was 15, a girl at school told me she was worried that she was HIV positive, and I had trouble sleeping for weeks because she sneezed on me. I was convinced (ignorantly) that I too had contracted it.
- I refused to ride roller coasters, or any other ride that left the ground until I was 15. When I finally got the guts to go on something other than the merry-go-round, I was ticked that I let my fears get the best of me! I had missed out on so much! This was a turning point for me!
Thankfully, these are all fears that have been lifted by the grace of God and I have learned to trust in the Lord's sovereignty! I still struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis! Every time I get in a car, every time I go over a bridge (and yes, roll the window down), every time I think I feel a lump on my body, I have to make a conscious effort to put off negative thoughts and put on thoughts that are true, lovely, and pure (phil. 4:8). I have been convicted by Matthew 6:25-34. So often I have read the verses in that passage and have never given them much thought, but taking time to really study and meditate on this passage has renewed me and given me such peace! I hope that these words can be an encouragement to you as they have been for me!
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.