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Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—

think about such things.  

Phillipians 4:8

I’ve always been kind of a Debbie Downer.  If there are multiple ways of thinking about an issue, my mind usually gravitates toward the negative.  I’m what you might call a “worst case scenario” thinker which leads me to be risk-averse, sometimes to a crippling degree.  Worrying myself sick about hypothetical-but-unlikely negative outcomes could be my full-time job, if I let it.  It’s amazing, really, that I’ve been able to navigate my way through life with this handicap.

Every day, when I wake up, I go to battle with my anxiety about the unknown.  Actually, truth be told, the battle often begins before daybreak, when I toss and turn in the middle of the night or roam about the house in the wee hours because my laser-like focus on the uncertainties of life robs me of peaceful slumber.  Many days, I triumph over my doom-and-gloom nature.  Some days, unfortunately, I succumb.

I come from a long line of worriers.  My granny used to wring her hands anxiously; my mother seemed certain that tragedy would befall me or one of my five siblings if we strayed too far from the nest; my father would sit in his recliner and shake his legs obsessively, as if to a fast-paced hillbilly tune that only he could hear.  With such a strong genetic predisposition to worry, it was a foregone conclusion that I too would be a neurotic mess.

Yet, deep in the hidden parts of my mind, I cling fast to a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel of doubt, which drives me forward.  I guess you could say I’m a tragic optimist trapped in a pessimist’s body, for no matter how much I fear leaving my comfort zone, I am constantly drawn outside its boundaries.  In facing some of my greatest fears, I have cobbled together a wonderful, full life.  Still, I worry … a lot.

Turns out that the more I have, the more I have to lose.  The more I love, the more I worry about those I love.  The more I succeed, the more I fear failure.  So I stand on the precipice of each new day with a heightened awareness of the potential danger and loss swirling around me, always cognizant that my time here on Earth is finite and all of my dreams and aspirations may not be realized.  But, with God’s help, I gird myself with the armor of faith and hope and face this amazing gift of life one moment, one hour, one day, one worry at a time.

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