Monday, December 9, 2013

Chronic worry. It's a thing.

Hi, my name is Elise and I'm a chronic worrier.

In fact, right this moment I'm worrying about how I haven't blogged in more than a month and will anyone even care to read this and should I appologize for not blogging for so long or explain why I haven't? And do I really have time to be blogging right now or should I actually just go to bed so that I can get up earlier and have time to worry about all the things I'll need to worry about tomorrow morning?

It's a situation.

I was talking to my dad about my recent self-diagnosis of chronic worrying last night. He said "can you think of when it started or have you been this way for a while?" We then talked about how when I was 13, I would use my electric blanket to warm up my bed before I got in, but turn it off because I was afraid it would burn the house down over night. And how I have to say (in my out loud voice) "I turned off my straightener" most mornings so I don't get to work and spend an hour wondering if I really did turn it off or if my house is going to be ashes when I get home for lunch.

It's kind of funny. I totally see the humor in how silly my worrying is as I'm typing it right now, but you also need to know that I'm being completely serious. Chronic worry is real life. And it can be emotionally and physically harming.

I have a really incredible life. I am incredibly blessed and I have a gift for optimism, which I am really greatful for. But I also think too much, try too hard, and worry more than is okay. I'm an oldest child, a people pleaser, and I have a really hard time letting myself believe that I might be doing enough, that I might be good enough, and that it is actually okay to take a breather and even let people make mistakes. (Including myself.)

My life has been crazy since approximately June. As in, extra crazy. Among many wonderful, wonderful blessings, I've had some crazy challenges. It's almost hard to explain, but it's more like I've been really internally challenged. I am certain that God is stretching me. I think I've had more hope combined with more heartache in the last 6 months than I did through all of Junior High. (And I mean, puberty, woof. That's saying something.) Like I said, a lot of it is really internal. And, in fact, a lot of the heartache was magnified by the worry I brought upon myself.

Until recently, I honestly just thought that I was meant to be a worrier. That it was part of my nature and would make me a better mom. I've changed my mind. I'm meant to care. Deeply. But worry is different than care. Care implies control of your emotions and trust in God. Worry implies doubt and a lack of control.

Earlier this year, I was talking to my favorite sparkly friend, Chrissy about some of the experiences we've had this year among our close group of friends. We decided that our word of the year was "Brave". And really, I've really grown out of my comfort zone this year. And it's been amazing. As the year is winding down, I am recognizing that I'm being pushed out of this new, expanded, #BraveElise comfort zone. Brave is good, but now it's time for words like "Trust" and "Hope" and "Peace".

I don't know how to not worry. In fact, I've reached this cool new stage of worrying about if I'm worrying too much or not enough. Or if I stopped caring because I stopped worrying. And in the moments where I'm not worrying, it's almost like one of those dreams where you show up to school in your underwear and you know you're missing something but you can't figure out what it is... I hope to some day perfect the art of not worrying and truly learn how to trust and be at peace.

Until then, I just wanted to share with you some of the things that are helping me.
This article from Richard G. Scott
This broadcast from Carl B. Cook
and these lyrics from one of my favorite hymns.

I really do know that He will order and provide. I can trust Him. And in trusting Him, I can let go of worry and doubt and feeling like not enough. In the strength of the Lord, we can do all things. In His strength, I will learn how to not worry; how to be at peace.

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