I have an issue I call WCS.
To some extent, it’s not uncommon among parents, mostly moms I think. Some have it worse than others. I am one of the former crowd. Some days are better than others. But some days are bad. Very, very, bad.
WCS = Worst Case Scenario
I go there. All the time. WCS is really no good at all. It’s really just imagining the unimaginable…
Husband gets on a plane to head to NYC. WCS: I don’t even want to go there. But I did. I went there. Each and every time he boarded a plane.
Kids ride in the car with someone else. WCS: Several versions of this WCS. None are worth going to. So why do I???
Taking the kids on a bike ride along side roads, driving over Deception Pass bridge – who am I kidding, driving over any bridge… or inside any tunnel, letting the kids get in a pool, climb a tall ladder on a slide, go out to the car all alone to get a toy they left in there. Pretty much anything that involves letting the kids walk out the front door without full padding and a helmet. And maybe also an armed body guard that loves them as much as I do.
WCS = living in fear, worry, full of anxiety. I know this is an issue for me. I have verses* I cling to. Verses I’ve memorized, not because I was trying to, but because I’ve had a need to read them so often and remind myself this isn’t how I’m supposed to live.
The good news is, I’ve gotten (somewhat) better about giving my fears to God, reminding myself He is sovereign and a God of Love.
So the other day, when I found a lump on my gums, I joked and laughed about it. I didn’t go there, to the WCS I mean. Not immediately anyway.
Not until I looked up reasons for gum lumps and found out cancer actually was an option. (I know, I know. Don’t ever Google symptoms. Cancer always comes up as an option.) The truth is, I didn’t really think it was that. But I allowed my mind to wander to the WCS and all the things that would follow.
So here is what happened: I called my dentist, but they were closed for the day (Friday afternoon) and wouldn’t be open until Monday morning. I called and messaged two friends who work in the dental field and have knowledge of this kind of thing, and who are probably going to be laughing once they realize how much I freaked myself out. Both guessed it was an abscess at the tooth root that might require a root canal. (This is almost WCS for me, I fear dental work that much.) I spent the weekend worrying and gave myself a stress bump. I thought about what would happen if I died. I planned a conversation with Matt – and no, I’m not even kidding – about remarrying, that as hard as it is to imagine them with a different one, the kids need a mom. Yes, I might be a tad bit of a crazy over-reactor.
Please know, I’m not making light of what is a very real and very serious situation some people have to endure – including people I know and love and even have lost. I do have a point in all this.
That entire weekend, when I worried about the lump on my gums to the point of giving myself an additional lump on my face (my tell-tale sign of stress), planned conversations with my husband that would never happen, and imagined my kids growing up without me, I had several occasions where I was prompted to turn to scripture, but I didn’t. There were a few times when I knew without a doubt – almost as clearly as if I had heard an audible voice – that I should stop, sit down, and focus on my Savior instead of my strain. Lean on my Lord instead of wallow in my worry. It was made very clear to me that what I needed to be doing was resting in the arms of He who is my refuge.
But I didn’t.
Monday morning came. I called the dentist. They took it seriously and wanted me to come in as soon as possible. This added fuel to my worry-fire. I couldn’t eat all morning because of my churning stomach, and at my 11:40 appointment which lasted exactly 4 minutes, I discovered I don’t have cancer and don’t even have an abscess tooth. I have, and I quote, “A completely normal abnormality” in my jaw bone. My bone grew out and formed a lump under my gums – a lump of bone. While the dentist said he’s not sure why, he did say there is a theory that it is your body “growing bone” to compensate for extra pressure on your teeth and jaw because of clenching and grinding your teeth. Which often happens when you’re stressed and worry.
Ironic, isn’t it? I was in a tizzy of worry about the lump that was probably caused by grinding my teeth from worry tizzies.
I left the office 4 minutes later and was met by my husband in the parking lot. He knows me all too well and came to give me a hug. And maybe also to gently remind me that my weekend and morning of worry was really me letting my own thoughts run away instead of trusting in Him who holds the future. (He may have also pointed out that I now had two lumps from worry.)
I went home, determined to do better next time a potentially stressful situation arises. The next morning, I sat down at the table for my devotions. I opened my Bible to one of the books I’m reading through – Psalms.
I’m right handed. Coffee mugs go on the right. Except when I read my Bible and have my journal and pen on the right. Then coffee goes on the left. And as I sat there contemplating the weekend and my wasted worry, I noticed my the shadow of my coffee mug perfectly circling one complete verse. A very familiar verse. A verse I’ve underlined, read many times, and clearly should have reminded myself of over the past few days:
I quick took a few pictures. Thanks for the reminder, I thought.
I read through my chapters in Psalms, then turned to my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. I hadn’t read it for two of my worry-filled days, so I decided to read the entries I missed over the weekend. This is the first one I read, the first entry I had missed in my weekend of worry:
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW! This is not a suggestion, but a command. I divided time into days and nights, so that you would have manageable portions of life to handle. My grace is sufficient for you, but its sufficiency is for only one day at a time. When you worry about the future, you heap day upon day of troubles onto your flimsy frame. You stagger under this heavy load, which I never intended you to carry.
Throw off this oppressive burden with one quick thrust of trust. Anxious thoughts meander about and crisscross in your brain, but trusting Me brings you directly into My Presence. As you thus affirm your faith, shackles of worry fall of instantly. Enjoy My Presence continually by trusting Me at all times.
Matthew 6:34 “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
Just in case the little circled verse wasn’t a good enough reminder, here’s a brick to the face to remind me. I really could have used this two days ago… right about when I was ignoring that prompting to just sit and be near to Jesus. (For any Doubting Thomases, no passages from the days leading up to or just beyond this particular entry were about worry. Oh no. Just this one. Just the one I was supposed to read but didn’t. Just this one that had the exact words I needed to be reminded of on the exact day I needed to be reminded. I know this, because I checked.)
Moving on… I turned to Genesis. I had read Genesis 1 and 2 the other day, so I picked up on chapter 3 today. I’ve read it before. I know the story well. Genesis 3 is about the fall of Adam and Eve. Eve is tempted. She wants to be wise like God. She does what God tells her not to do. She eats. Adam eats. They are ashamed and hide themselves.
I think to myself of a conversation I had with my aunt one day about this story. How Adam and Eve, their decision right there in the Garden of Eden is what eventually led to this sin-filled hurt-filled world. I remember making a bitter comment towards them. My aunt had replied, “Don’t be mad at them. If they hadn’t sinned, some other idiot would’ve.” Thinking of it now, the comment made me smile to myself. At first, at least.
I smiled to myself right up until I realized, I AM THAT IDIOT.
I am Eve…
…not trusting in the Goodness of a loving God, in His provision.
…wanting to do things my way, on my own instead of seeking Him.
…listening to the wrong voice, ignoring the Truth, and doubting God’s plan.
…wanting all the answers. I want to know. About today, tomorrow, and the next few days and months and years after that. And I’d like to know now, thankyouverymuch.
I worry. I stress. I fear for what might happen and what if and how do I know this won’t?
I am Eve. Not content with the blessings and provision of now…
…Thankfully, there is grace.
…Thankfully, my God is patient. Enough that when I ignore several promptings to give Him all my fears, He gently reminds me that I do not need to continue to fear, that He is sufficient for me.
…And thankfully, I don’t have to continue to be that idiot. (Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15:57)
* Additional verses about fear I read often:
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound-mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? ~ Psalm 56:3-4
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10