Worry gives me wrinkles

Sunday’s YOLO message focused on worry, anxiety and stress. We learned, through the story of Mary and Martha hanging with Jesus that we should focus on the important things in life – like relationships…and not sweat the small stuff – like details.

Wow!  That’s a tough one!  My life is full of lists, obligations, commitments and details.  If I didn’t know better, I would think that Don had customized that sermon JUST for me.  It was pretty evident to anyone who knows me that I was a bundle of nerves yesterday.  I was pacing the lobby.  I was rushing frantically from one theater to another.  I was asking for prayers from every one I saw.  I asked for hugs from the people in line to see Twilight. (Awkward)  :-)

One of the AMAZING things about actionchurch is the relationships that have developed between people.  I have never been to a church were my friends were truly my family.  Even though I was focused on details – the people who love me were focused on me.  I could feel people praying over me yesterday.  The outpouring of love was overwhelming.  And I appreciate it more than you can possibly imagine.  Because worry tends to give me wrinkles.  And I certainly don’t need any more of those.

And stress makes me an ineffective leader.  Never more evident than yesterday’s Outro at actionchurch.  I needed three simple things to lead the Sandy Thanksgiving event.  One – prayers.  Two – Volunteers. Three – Donations.  How hard was that?  But because I was so stressed out and worried about details I was unable to communicate that clearly.  For those of you who may have been with us for the first time – I apologize.  For those of you who know me and are “regulars” – I really apologize.

You see – I had listened to Don’s message intently (Since I was the poster child :-) ) and I understood that worry, details and stressors get in the way of beautiful relationships and just the joy of life in general.  But knowledge and application are two completely different things.  Knowing we should avoid worry and avoiding worry are two completely different things. How do you do that?

Good news!  I found the answer.

After church I tried to take my stress out on a huge pile of firewood.  Good physical exercise should kick the stress!  It helped – a little – but the details were still spinning in my head.

Share your burden.  Turn to a prayer warrior.  I intruded on mother/daughter time with two women I admire greatly and poured out my troubles to them.  Good…getting better…just a little farther to go.  But the answer still eluded me.

It wasn’t until I got home….still pondering the multitude of tasks before me this week preparing to go to New Jersey ….that I took the time to read a text from a very dear friend of mine. She had tried to contact me and I ignored her.  She had texted me with information about a detail.  And I ignored her.

In my state of worry I had COMPLETELY ignored a very important relationship.  Selfishly, I hadn’t bothered to check on her all weekend.  My friend is going through a very rough season in her life.  Her husband has a rare and debilitating medical condition that has turned her life upside down.  But she was doing research ON DETAILS for me.  As the realization that I had completely left her down toppled me like a ton of firewood…I finally knew the answer.

How do you take the stress out of YOUR life?

You focus on someone else’s life.  My mom always says, no matter the situation, there is always someone who is worse off than you are.  And that, my friends is the key.  When we take OURSELVES out of the CENTER and replace self/selfishness with SOMEONE else – our worries go away.  Relationships are established.

When I focused on my friend’s problems, mine suddenly seemed to become very small in comparison.  Taking ten volunteers to another state on a disaster recover mission IS an awesome responsibility.  But, as a very wise woman told me – all I have to do is get them there – everything else will fall in line.  The magnitude of that simple statement brought it all into focus.

When I compared my friend not knowing how she is going to care for her children, pay the bills, help her husband through a year of rehab and continue to work full time – when I compared that to a car trip with a bunch of crazy characters…well – the JOY suddenly came back into my life.  I actually started to look forward to the mission again!  I was able to clearly map out a plan for the actioncorps team and stop worrying about the details.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.  And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”  Philippians 4:6-7

No more worry.  No more stress. #YOLO

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