I have fretted this year.
Oh, how I have fretted.
I lost sleep in January and again in February because I was worrying over planning events, over getting enough volunteers, over whether we should hold our huge church egg hunt on this particular Saturday or on the Sunday before?
I wrestled with calendars. I made a plan, had a meeting with someone that changed my mind, contemplated the plan some more, sought counsel from others, stuck with the original plan—and second-guessed myself the whole time.
I stressed about our soccer schedule. I stressed over how to get my kids to soccer, an orientation night at the high school, and to a math competition all at the same time in different parts of our county.
I worried about events and trips my kids and I were looking forward to. How would we pay for everything and how was the schedule going to work out? We had trips to Disney, Boston, Italy, and Montana all in the works. They were all good things—all incredibly wonderful opportunities.
Still I worried. About plane tickets and getting to the airport and renewing my passport and everything about traveling that stresses me out (which is everything).
None of these things are actually happening.
I invested so many hours and lost so much sleep worrying over things that have now been canceled or altered beyond recognition.
There’s no soccer season. There was no math bowl or area chorus or countywide music concert. There is no trip to Disney or Italy or Boston.
We didn’t hold our egg hunt on the Saturday or the Sunday. It was completely new and different and not like anything I imagined when I started planning in January.
Maybe it sounds like I’m a never-ending tangle of angst over here, and it’s true that I’m definitely not a happy-go-lucky whatever-may-come kind of person.
I’m a super-planner.
And super-planners like to have plans and to follow plans and not to deviate from plans.
Still, over the years God has stretched me and lovingly nudged me into spiritual growth and new levels of trust and dependence on Him. I’ve seen the progress. I’m not as bad as I used to be.
But sitting here in the middle of coronavirus quarantine, feeling unsure of when we’re allowed out of our houses much less when we can go back to work, school, and church, makes me feel oh-so-tempted to tumble back into the pit of fretting.
There are too many things unplanned. Too many things I can’t possibly plan. I have far more questions than I do answers. Maybe I don’t even feel like answers exist right now.
But whenever I’m tempted to start fretting over this mess, I remember this:
In January and February, I spent hours and hours worrying about the date of an egg hunt that DIDN’T HAPPEN.
See where that got me?
I worried so much then about making the perfect decision and not picking the wrong day to hold an egg hunt. It turns out, no decision even mattered. Only God had the full knowledge of what was to come. Only He had the big perspective.
I read this today in Proverbs:
Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs it down,
but a good word cheers it up (Proverbs 12:25 CSB).
Weighed down by worry. Yes.
I have pulled that two-ton weight of worry behind me, dragging it along, letting it steal the joy in this moment because I’m fretting over the moments to come.
Jesus told us how pointless that is:
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27 NASB).
I am tempted to worry every single time I scroll Facebook, listen to a news conference, and examine a line graph right now. So, I’m in this place of continually challenging my thoughts and continually catching that worry and dismissing it.
I ask myself the question, “Where has any of your worrying gotten you so far this year?”
What has been a blessing this year?
This: Seeing how God has helped us with unexpected answers to completely unanticipated problems.
Our egg hunt reached so many kids this year and it was delivered to their homes rather than held at one time in the lawn on our church property. God did a new thing and He did it perfectly.
I feel like I’m one-minute away from fretting at all times around here right now. And yet, I’m also one minute away from a completely different choice:
I can sit back and watch what God will do.
Take a breath.