I fired my inner worrier this morning.
I fired her after she rudely woke me up at her preferred time — which always falls unmercifully between 3 and 4 a.m.
I know. I know. My default should be prayer at 3:28 a.m. — and I do know people who faithfully wake up like night watchmen to pray when they are shaken from slumber.
I’m not proud to say that I am too often the night worrier, instead of the night watchman. I’m not proud to say that I have long indulged my inner worry-wart.
I allow myself to fixate, fret, and flounder. I ponder too much about deadlines and bottom lines – so much that I forget about the plumb line.
I fired her this morning. Let me just say, we did not part on good terms.
“We have fundamentally different views about some things,” I said under my breath, before I sent her packing. “It’s not me, it’s you. You are a drain on my calendar, my work life, my mothering, my marriage, and my precious sleep.”
I confess: I have fired my inner worrier a few times before. And I have mistakenly hired her back again against my better judgment.
Because life on planet earth gives all of us plenty of reasons to worry. We worry about what the MRI will show, and if the crops are going to grow, and why the sales are still so slow.
If we’re moms, we worry we didn’t use enough sunscreen, that ketchup really doesn’t count as a vegetable after all, and the frightening truth that your oldest son is about to get his learner’s permit – Lord, help us all.
We worry we won’t get back to sleep. And some of us worry we won’t wake up again.
And, it seems, our inner worriers prefer to work the night shift. So we stir awake, then we stay awake. And we walk through our days unrested, unnerved and unprepared for what life might throw our way.
The thing is, worry is a horrible tenant. It lives rent-free in your soul, and furthermore, it demands to be paid — with the deposit of your precious thought life.
Paul says there’s a better way: “Don’t fret or worry,” he wrote to the Philippians – and to all of us. “Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6, The Message)
Fire the worry-wart. Hire the Holy Spirit. He’s already applied for the job, and is abundantly qualified.
He offers true peace, sweet peace. And He doesn’t make burdensome demands at 3:28 a.m.
(But He might wake you up for a chat.)
The Two-Day Challenge:
So, you fired your inner worrier. Now what? Take the Two-Day Challenge with me.
The challenge is based on these words of Martin Luther: “There are two days on my calendar: This day and that Day.”
So, when your inner worrier tries to stage a comeback, you retrain your brain to focus here:
This day. The moment you are currently in.
And that Day. The moment when you will see God face-to-face.
The Two-Day Challenge allows us to live fully present in our nows – those beautiful everyday moments begging to be savored. It also creates space for us to revel in the astonishing truth of our forever inheritance. It helps us pay attention to what a present-tense God is doing right now, before our very eyes. And it reminds us to look at life through the prism of eternity, prioritizing life by what matters most.
The Two-Day Challenge doesn’t allow room for our inner worriers to bludgeon us with our pasts, or to pester us with what might happen tomorrow.
Worry never changed what already happened, and it is incapable of altering what will come to pass next week. But worry does have the power to rob today of its joy, if we let it.
But we won’t let it, will we? We know a better way:
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
– Matthew 6:34 (The Message)
Dear Jesus, We wait expectantly to see you on that Day. But until then, help us live more fully for You in this one. Amen.