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Since I published my post at The Better Mom: Dear Mom Battling Anxiety, I’ve received so many emails and comments from other women – basically connecting with me to say, “Yes. Me, too.”
So I’m writing a series on anxiety. The first topic in this series is :
How Worry Is a Gift
If you’re like me, it might seem weird to think of worry as a gift. Worry is awful, right?
- It makes me feel sick
- It keeps me from having fun
- It can overtake my life
- It makes me feel embarrassed of myself and like I’m not being the person I want to be
- It just feels awful. Did I say that already? That sick feeling in the stomach, the tightness of breathing, clenched fists…it’s a horrible way to feel.
So yes, worry is a gift? How is that?
I’ve come up with a whole doggone list, actually. It was really, incredibly freeing to do, and I highly recommend it.
Here are 5 ways that worry is a gift in my life.
- It makes me need others. Ironically, some of the most precious times in my marriage have been the times I’m stuck deepest in the pit of anxiety and despair. Have you seen this, too? I can tend to be an independent person, but during anxious times, I lean on my friends and family. I learn from them. I confide in them. It can be humbling, but it’s the stuff that real relationships are made of.
- Worry is a foil of your strengths. Anyone remember high school English? I just pulled out a literary term on ya. Foil. A foil is an opposite. See, the thing that makes you worry is also your gift. (I think this is probably true of any struggle.) I am a very focused person who doesn’t miss much. I set high goals for myself, and I’m good at being in control. I like being in charge, I like knowing and planning what’s going to happen. These tendencies can be used for good or bad. When I’m “on,” I use my gifts, not for worry, but for planning, preparing, being in charge. I feel so alive when I’m being me without worry. Worry twists the good.
- Worry makes you real. During a visit to my kind counselor, I remember him looking at me meditatively and saying something like, “Ya know, you worriers – I think you can see things sometimes in life that the rest of us don’t see. You understand the hurt and pain in the world that many of us don’t get.” We do. We have a unique insight – we love deeply, we understand the problem of pain, and we see fiercely the need for a Savior. This doesn’t feel good, but it’s a good thing.
- Worry makes you long for heaven. In my times of intense brokenness, disappointment with myself, fear of the future, and just exhaustion from this life, I long for heaven, and something else. Something permanent, and safe, and joyful. Come quickly, Lord Jesus, is the cry of my heart. Again, this doesn’t feel good, but what a precious gift, to long for heaven.
- God will use your worry for good, if you submit your life to His care. I can’t tell you how he will. But he will.
Two years ago, I was in the pit of despair. I cried everyday. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t (it chokes me up to say this) love or care for my family well.
I remember during these times crying out to the Lord, asking – why, God? Why do I have to struggle with this most pointless struggle? It’s helping no one. It does no good for anyone. It is a waste. Why, Lord? Take it away.
He did bring me out of that pit, but the most amazing thing to me is how he’s used it for good. Just the same way as the pain from my scary ectopic pregnancy:
He has used my story to help others.
He’s doing it even now, see? And friend, He’s using your struggle, too.
Have you ever thought of your struggles as a gift? I’d love to hear your answers! How is your worry a gift?