Without his permission, I'm copying and pasting his text here, and making it my blog challenge on ScrapShare for this week. I think it's an interesting topic to explore, and that it will open some good dialogue about how we handle the situations life throws at us. Here's his post:
I worry about money - of having it and not having it. I worry about my kids -
their health and their behavior. I worry about my health - my already tired joints and bones. I worry. A lot. Too much. At times, it dictates how I live. Out of desperation I attempt to make my world smaller hoping that I can do a better job of managing all the things and people I worry about. This, of course, isn’t helpful as it is painstakingly clear that I’m unable to manage it all on my own. In fact, things only get worse when I reign things and people in.
Has this been your experience?
And let’s just have a little alter call:
What do you worry about?
Here's the comment I left for him:
I’m not a big worrier. In fact, just this week, my 16 year old daughter accused me of being overly optimistic all the time. Somehow, she made it an insult. LOL! BUT… I do suffer from unnecessary guilt. If I spend too much at the grocery store, or use too many cell phone minutes and have an overage, or if I overeat to the point of discomfort, or lose my patience with the kids, etc etc etc, I don’t just feel guilt. I feel IMMENSE guilt that quite literally makes me sick. I don’t know that it’s a form of worry, per se, but it’s just as unhealthy.
And now, to elaborate.
This summer and now into early fall has been an emotionally exhausting time for us. As we've battled depression, the new school year, health issues, and a recent near-tragedy, our family has really been through the ringer.
As much as it would've made sense to worry about it all, I can't say that I did. Well, let me check that. Of course, there were aspects of things that I DID worry about. But it wasn't the kind of worry that dibilitated me, or held me back, or caused me stress. Quite the opposite, I found that in those times, I felt a sense of hope and calm - a calm that didn't even make sense to me. I believe that the calmness and lack of worry/fear was a gift from God, but that's another post.
However, I suffer from such deep guilt that it sometimes keeps me in my bed, causes me to lose my appetite and then later, to binge. When I had pneumonia, I didn't feel worried about the things I was unable to accomplish on my list of THINGS THAT MUST GET DONE NOW THAT THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL. Instead, I felt dread and guilt that I was letting the family down, and my church down, and my clients down, and my friends down, and even the dumb cat down.
Throughout the aftermath of the near-tragedy (which I haven't blogged about, and won't, for the sake of privacy of those involved), I felt guilt that I could've done more, prevented it from happening, etc. (In my heart of hearts, I know I couldn't have; it's just the process with which I deal with things.)
When we're at church, and a volunteer group comes, I feel guilt if the singing sounds weak, or if the lunch served isn't hot, or if the Fortress kids are especially unruly. None of those things are within my power to control, and it makes no sense for me to feel guilty about it. But I do.
Maybe guilt's not even the right word. Do you have a better one?
When I was an older teen, I made many, many mistakes. By the time I got to college, I'd given up my damaging lifestyle and returned to my faith, but I couldn't let go of the guilt. My friend (in fact, to this day, one of the best friends I've ever had, and I'm posting his full name in the hopes that someday he'll google his name and find himself here, and thus, find ME, 'cause I lost him and would love to reconnect) Eric Reynolds (who I've heard lives in Georgia now, to help wih the googling, LOL), gave me advice that still speaks to my heart all these years later. He said, "Stacy, why do you keep asking for forgiveness for that? Why can't you let it go? Why don't you trust God? You've asked Him to forgive you. He has. So now, everytime you bring it up again, He's like, 'Uh, Stace? I have no idea what you're talking about.' 'Cause He's forgiven you. It's gone from his memory. It's wiped off the chalk board. He has no recollection of it. You're forgiven. The only thing you can do now is forgive yourself."
I've struggled with guilt my whole life, I guess.
Remorse isn't quite the right word, either, because it's stronger than that.
Your turn. Self-analyze. What do you worry about? On the count of three, go.