Who’s worried!? 😳 Not me! 😬
During my last blog I was taking highway on and off ramps to delay a hard decision, even while Jesus clearly indicated “the way” forward.
This week I’m mixing it up by recounting my experience boarding that trusty railway line called The Worry Express.
All Aboard The Worry Express
The reasons for boarding may be a life changing decision, a diagnosis, or preparing for the worst case scenarios at work or while traveling. I know you have your go-to worries. The familiar worn-out track of carpet you’ve tread over a thousand times in your mind as you become consumed by a worry…or All The Worries.
I have been on this track for a couple weeks. It probably started the moment I said yes to this exciting and uncharted opportunity God’s given me to partner with him in ministry. Accepting this route means giving up my cushy healthcare and resting in the Lord, knowing he will provide for my physical needs. As a gal who’s battled multiple autoimmune disorders since I was young, this is scary as heck!
Dutifully, I’ve been scheduling every specialist visit, routine test, and meds check up that I can while I still have a low deductible.
No problem, I tell myself. Just a little maintenance to keep everything going for the next few years. After all, I’ve recently started eating healthy and taking better care of myself. All will be good! Cardiologist… Check! Meds checkup…Great! Routine blood work Friday…Tap the brakes!
Did I read that red exclamation next to my test results correctly? Well, yes I did. In fact 5 unexpected red exclamation marks next to varying results. I mean out of about 20, I guess not too bad, right?
Who am I kidding? I went from everything is fine, to “Oh My Gosh it might be cancer”…in 3 seconds flat. How could I have responded to the unexpected results? “Get thee behind me! Not today, Devil!”
And yet, how did I respond? By Googling “what does it mean when x result is high/low?” Come on, Leanna! You are a librarian and know better than to ask Dr. Google!
Several unexpected and not optimal results trickled in over the weekend. By Sunday morning I found another unexpectedly high blood test in my inbox. By now, The Worry Express was careening down the track at high speeds!
The Anxiety Experience
I have heard of anxiety described as having a 500 pound monkey on your back, but I experience it a bit differently. Let me illustrate.
One time I was walking in the most gorgeous pine wood forest, serene as can be. When out of nowhere, horseflies started buzzing perilously close to my head. Fun fact about Leanna…Equal (and probably greater) to my Love of the wood and outdoors, is my Hate for flying, stinging, or creeping insects!
When I’d least expect it, these flies landed on my neck or head. I was charging through the forest like a scared elephant, heedless of my surroundings. I never knew when the next attack would come. At one point I was jogging to get away from them.
That’s how I experience worry. The enemy releases his horde of winged creatures in the form of terrorizing thoughts that stalk me and buzz by my head. It’s loud and potentially painful, so I run, hunched and swatting to try to keep the terrible thoughts at bay. But I can never outrun them. How about you?
Praise The Lord
Last week, my Bible reading was in the Psalms. Each Psalm I was assigned to read began with “Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 111-113)
It may sound trite because we hear it so often. However, intentionally praising the Lord in the midst of trial and anxiety is a key to defeating the enemy. Active praise realigns our minds, while allowing the Holy Spirit to use his super fly swatter on all those worries buzzing in our head and heart!
Curious about how many times Praise the Lord or Hallelujah appeared in The Psalms, I decided to look it up (this being an appropriate use of Google’s power). Depending on the version, Hundreds of times is the best answer I can give you. That doesn’t even include words like exalt, honor, magnify, glorify, and so on.
David is one of my heroes. He’s up and he’s down, he’s raw and authentic. Plus, he always brings his tortured thoughts and his soul back around to praising the Lord in All circumstances.
Psalm 42:5 says “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (NIV)
When he is betrayed by the king and hiding in a cave in fear of his life, what does he do? He praises the Lord!
David praises God, not because of the circumstances but in spite of the circumstances. When we tell our soul to praise, we are acknowledging God’s kingship and control over the trial we are stuck in. God is worthy of praise, and he is mighty to save us out of the anxiety pit.
When I praise, I lift my eyes up to my Abba father and look at his big picture, which is far more vast and beautiful than mine.
Praise God For Worship Music!
When I can’t calm my thoughts enough to formulate prayers, praise is my weapon!
I love it when God has the perfect song for our needs. The one that bowls you over unexpectedly, even if you’ve heard it 1000 times before without taking in the meaning. Over the course of the week, here are the songs that came on my Spotify, just in time to speak to my worried soul.
Why do I worry God knows what I need? I’ll give thanks to God…
‘Cause he’s more than enough and he knows what I need.I’ll Give Thanks performed by Housefires, Songwriters: Tony Brown / Kirby Elizabeth Kaple / Jonathan Edward Jay
Then there was this hymn – an oldie but a goodie:
Oh, what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayerWhat a Friend We Have in Jesus written by Joseph Medlicott Scriven
In church on Sunday, we sang about God’s awesome creative power in So Will I by Hillsong Worship. If he can create the world in 6 days, he can create, heal, fix or restore to right what is causing us worry!
Next, we sang The Blessing by Elevation Worship. Great song! “He is for me, he is for me, he is for me.” Yes he is! How could I forget? If he is calling me forward to walk on a new adventurous path, which I am sure he is, then why would he bring me there only to let me get knocked out of the race by a few measly test results? He wouldn’t!
Finally, on Monday as I turned on my morning worship tunes (more out of obedience than desire) a song played that I hadn’t heard in years:
If You brought me this far…
Wherever You lead me, I know You won’t leave me
Wherever You call me, You will make a way
Wherever we’re goin’, I will be holdin’
To the promise You have made
You will make a wayMake A Way by I AM THEY
Here’s the take away. Whether your anxiety is a monkey on your back or a horde of evil horseflies out to eat your flesh, God is telling you that you aren’t meant to languish under the weight of anxiety. When you don’t have the words to pray or the attention span to read the word, turn on your favorite worship playlist, and let God’s truth wash over you anew.
He is for you! He will make a way when it seems impossible. I’ve seen him do it, and I’m sure you have, too. You don’t need to carry the burden of what *might* happen in the future. He is more than enough to meet your needs and give you comfort, right this moment.
And when that future date comes that you are dreading, he will walk beside you on that day as well. Step off The Worry Express and step into his love for you right now. 💜
Thank you for reading this extra long blog post this week. I owed you a 2-for-1 special since last week was a miss.
Feel free to post a comment with your favorite worship song that stops worry in its tracks! Also, please let me know if I can pray for you this week. For those of you who have reached out – Thank You! I am honored to partner with you in prayer.
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