Editor’s note: This post is part of our Pulling the Plug series!
But I do try to use the season as a time to grow closer to God. Many years ago, an Episcopal priest told me that we are not asked to give something up in Lent to punish ourselves. She viewed Lent as a time to use our resources to do Christ’s work. For example, thinking about giving up chocolate this year? What are you going to do with the money you are saving? Could you put it to s special mission project instead? Could you give yourself another kind of reward, maybe reading a favorite Bible verse and spending a few moments in reflection?
And I will be honest.
There have been times when I gave up nothing. Two years ago, I gave up a real addiction of mine for Lent, social media. Instead I spent time reading to and playing with the kids. I won’t do that again this year though, a girl’s gotta make a living! But it was a valuable lesson to me – spending focused time with my children makes everyone happier.
This year, I am stealing an idea from two of my sweetest friends. I am going to try to give Worry up. That’s right, I am going to attempt to release myself from the shackles of doubt and fear. I am going to try to make that leap, and actually trust that everything is going to be okay.
I know what you’re thinking … I’ve kindof built a career on my neurotic, obsessive, can’t-sleep-at-night concerns. How on earth will she be able to jump on the Idina Menzel/Disney/John Travolta bandwagon and Let It Go?
With determination and a lighter heart, that’s how. For the next six weeks or so, I am embracing freedom. Because over the years, I have learned a few things about worrying.
- It doesn’t change the outcome. You can spend hours imagining scenarios in your mind, but all the energy you pour into fear and doubt is fruitless. I say spend that time doing something else that will do some good. One of my favorite quotes is “Worry is a misuse of imagination.” My plan is to pray for peace about any anxieties that I may have.
- Worrying makes you ugly. The next time you see me, please do me the favor of not looking at my forehead-held-in-constant-consternation crease. I could hold a pencil with that bad boy. And my son mistakes my concerned face for my mad mommy face, and that makes him anxious. Instead, I want to be the woman who has deep smiling lines etched in her face, a map that shows the time I have spent feeling joy instead of fear.
- Worry is the opposite of trust. It is so easy to say “trust in God,” but it is hard to actually do. I think the same rule applies to trusting yourself and your spouse as well. I do not worry about material things much, or that my children and I will always be provided for. The Hubs said that he would take care of us. I know what kind of man he is, and I trust in that. It seems to me that I should have the same faith in God.
- Worrying steals your joy and it robs you of productivity. I have plenty in my life that I often choose to worry about. Are my kids happy? Will I stay healthy? Will other moms judge me if their nap mats and lunchboxes don’t match? Head slap. I should be celebrating what IS! My kids are happy! I am healthy (mostly), and if something devastating happens, I will make a plan and move forward. I also suspect that worrying can make you physically ill. You know I know nothing about science, but it seems to me that if you bottle all that negativity up, swishing it around and around, sooner or later it is going to foam up and come spilling out the sides, manifesting itself as physical pain.
I know we all have things we can worry about, but what good does it really do to give in to it? Maybe this Lent I will accomplish great things! Write a book (and get my mom off my back), clean out my junk drawer, repaint the laundry room and prepare the patio for spring. Maybe I will be so mindful of my blessings that I will make fabulous progress on those laugh lines. And maybe I will be able to hear and trust in God, and I will have peace. There are so many things that I need to learn to have perspective about, that most of my concerns are just small things, things that won’t matter in five months or five years. Things that, well, I can’t change. And I will just Let It Go.
If you’re looking for a little Pinspiration, please visit my Letting Go board. You’ll find words of encouragement, scripture references and even a funny saying or two.