Okay, I admit it. Worrying comes natural for me. In fact I will actually admit that at times I am addicted. When I became a parent then a grandparent my worrying accelerated. When my little ones lay cuddled in the warmth of blankets. I worried that they might suffocate. It continued when they went to school for the first time (all 5 of them.) . I would worry about whether the other kids would be nice or if my child would be a social outcast. On and on it went through the teen years and into adulthood.
Recently I became a worry wart when our soldier son who is serving in Afghanistan called to say he had hurt his back and ribs and was in a medical tent facility scheduled to come home. “Oh no” I thought “what if his injury is permanent? What if it is disabling? What if our 22 year old son comes home to live forever?”
Worry was my constant companion that day. Finally I got out my “Worry Wart” first-aid ideas and started to apply them.
- WORSE TO WORSE WRAP. I find it helpful to ask myself how I could survive if worse came to worse. I got out a paper and faced the possibility of having him come home disabled for life. I wrote what life might be like and included a list of the positive and negative experiences I might have if that were the case. As usual I found that if that was supposed to be part of my life journey, God would help me. Like Nephi said “I will go and do the things which the Lord commandeth for He giveth no commandments unto the children of men save he prepareth a way for them to accomplish the thing which he commandeth.” As I faced the possibility I thought of the help our family and our ward would give and I felt greater peace.
- BUG SPRAY. They say that where there is one ant there are many more nearby. I have found that once my “worry glands” get activated there are other worries that begin pouring in. I had been using Facebook messaging to keep in touch with Joseph nearly every day! Then for 6 days after Christmas we heard nothing. During that time, other bugs and worries popped up. Things like my relationship with family members, my housework, my office work etc. My worries snowballed and rolled down the mountain of my mind. Finally one morning I sat down and wrote all the bugs and worries I could think of then decided whether they were things I had total, partial or no control. After that I was able to prayerfully give them to the Lord or do something to resolve the worry/bug.
- I haven’t heard from Joseph-no control-I will pray for him
- I don’t feel close to my friend anymore-partial control-I can call and talk to her about it
- You get the idea.
- FRIEND THERAPY. Sometimes paperwork wasn’t enough and I had to find someone to brainstorm with. In my iPhone I have a list of people I can do this with. I labeled it “friend therapy” and included the names of people I felt I could confide in, brainstorm with etc. Often a friend can shed light and hope on a fearful situation.
- QUOTE POWER. My friend, Darla, helped me come up with a list of quotes that soothed and calmed my soul.
- What God brings us to, He’ll help us through
- God knows how things will turn out. I can trust in him.
- If worse comes to worse…it won’t be the worst
- All things work together for good to them that love the Lord
- Let them worship how where or what they may
- TRAIN TRACKS. I worried about what my son was doing or whether he was having problems with the word of wisdom and what he was doing with his time while laid up in the hospital. I used to believe that I was like the engine of our family train. I mistakenly thought that my husband and children were attached to me and that it was my responsibility to pull them all back to heaven. I now believe that after baptism we each have our own tracks to run on. The Savior is my engine and it is up to me to stay attached to Him. In this way I can listen to His spirit and keep on moving forward, calling encouragement to my husband and children and giving help when directed by Him.
- SAVIOR SAUVE. Darla told me about a Bishop who was very worried about the members of his ward. After much prayer and pleading with the Lord he was reminded that the Lord is aware of each person’s situation and was in the business of saving. He could do his best then leave them in the hands of the Lord. I could do the same with my worries.
- LIFE LIFT. James Jones tells the story of his relationship with his rebellious son and how he finally was able to turn his son over to the Lord and admit to him “This is your life” then stop trying to take it over.
Our Son is still in Afghanistan. We still don’t know the extent of his injuries or when or if we will see him next. But instead of feeling a source of fear, I feel trust. I recall Nephi when he crept into the city to get the plates not knowing how this was to be done; only knowing that he had a work to do.
As we move forward in this experience and others, we don’t know how this is to be done or if he will heal there in Afghanistan and resume his work. By the grace of God when faith replaces worry I am able to move forward (at least for this moment in the year 2012!)
For help with this and other kinds of emotional first-aid check out my FIRST-AID FOR FEELINGS book available at my website patriciapotts.com