Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just a Teeny, Tiny Bit

     We had a pretty crazy week over here. It started last Saturday when Tessa seemed to be coming down with a cold. By Sunday afternoon she had a fever that lasted until Tuesday night. On Thursday morning, she woke up with a rash on her belly which, by Friday morning, had spread to her back, neck and parts of her face. All this during the biggest measles outbreak in our area in 16 years! Talk about panic, paranoia, worry, anxiety, fear...you name it, I felt it last week.

My heart breaks a little every time I see this picture...so sad to see her so sick!
     I've always been a worrier, long before I was a mom. I remember as a kid and teenager sometimes laying awake for hours at night thinking about one of my parents dying or me getting some terrible illness. When we first brought Tessa home from the hospital I had many anxious moments, mostly at night, where I would imagine something terrible happening to her, my husband, or me. If I let it, my imagination can run pretty wild with all kinds of what-ifs and awful scenarios. I've lost a LOT of sleep over the years due to worry, and now that I'm a mom, I expect my worry to continue to be just as bad, if not worse.

     And as I thought about it last week while caring for my sick daughter with the constant worry of measles running through my mind, I think I came to the conclusion that maybe a teeny tiny bit of worry is ok. Just a teeny tiny bit. Here's why:

  • The reason I worry is because I care. I don't know if it's possible to be a parent without worrying, at least on occasion. We love our children more than anything and want only what's best for them. Obviously, we don't need worry to prove this to ourselves or anyone else, but I think worry (in small doses) is a good indicator that we deeply care about something.
  • It keeps me alert and attentive. I can't count how many times I checked Tessa's temperature or looked her over for a rash last week (ok, maybe I was bordering on obsessive). I was on high alert and nothing was going to get by me. I think a little bit of worry keeps us on our toes and makes us sit up and pay attention to what's going on with our kids.
  • It motivates us to action to control the things we CAN control. Why do we install locks on cupboards and put up baby gates at the top of the stairs? Because we worry about our kids getting hurt. When our kids get older, why do we teach them not to talk to weirdos at the park? Because we worry, so we do whatever we can to hopefully prevent bad things from happening.

     Of course, I know that God commands us not to worry (Matt. 6:25-34, Phil. 4:6-7), so I want to do my best to obey that and let go of my worry. But I think God also knows that, as humans, we're prone to worry. We're so quick to let the worries of life overshadow His love and goodness. That's why we're also told to give our worries to Him (Matt. 11:28-30, 1 Peter 5:7). Maybe He knows that, as humans, we're unable to fully let go of worry, all the time...that occasionally (or regularly, if you're me) it creeps back in, so He gives us a way out.

     What's the number one response I get when I tell someone I'm worried about something? "Don't worry". My husband has to tell me ALL.THE.TIME. to not worry about something or other. But, since I've never in my life been able to find the worry switch, much less turn it off, I think maybe a better response is "Don't over-worry". I think it's ok, and completely normal, to worry about things. Of course, if you're one of those people who can actually stop it, great. If you're like me and can't seem do that, it's important to learn how to manage your worry and keep it in check. Out-of-control, irrational, crippling worry is not healthy for anyone, but I think maybe, just maybe, a teeny, tiny bit of worry, kept under control and channeled in the right direction, can actually be helpful.

    I don't know, am I completely out to lunch on this? How do others deal with worry?


  1. It is hard to be a parent and NOT worry at least a little bit! I asked my mom when does that part end and she said "I'll let you know when it happens" so basically you never stop worrying about your kids! So.... basically I don't have an answer but to say that yes it's normal to worry and you aren't completely "out to lunch"!! (in my opinion at least!) I usually try to deal with it by fixing whatever the problem is, and if I cant fix it then I just try to let it go! (If I can!)

  2. Parenting makes you SO vulnerable and worry is the natural response! I started reading 1000 Gifts when I was pregnant with Sophie and terrified because I realized I was bringing a little person into the world and I wasn't in control of what may or may not happen to her in her life. I don't remember many of the specifics but the just of what I took away (from the first half or third that I did read) was to be thankful. Be thankful for each moment and day you have, hoping and believing for many more but knowing that God doesn't owe me a life free of difficulty. In the first year especially, I remember tucking Sophie in and thanking God for as many good things as I could remember from that day and asking and trusting for many more but knowing at the end of the day, He is Sovereign! :) Keep blogging!

    1. Yes - so true! God doesn't owe us a life free of difficulty! Thank you for this reminder to be thankful for what IS, instead of worrying about what might or might not be.

  3. Awww I am the same way. Always worrying about the negative...I agree with you on everything you said. I wish I could stop worrying, but like you said, it's not a switch you can just turn off. I have no advice on this. Ha!

    Your poor baby. :( Is she vaccinated for measles? I think Ben had the MMR vaccine at 12 months.

  4. Hope she is feeling better! I know I worry all the time. I cried on the way home from the hospital with my first because I was so overwhelmed with worrying about him!

  5. Oh, I hate the worry! I worry about everything. Everything. It is the worst, and I'm trying so hard to let go- I of course worry my worry will ruin my kids!
    Deep breaths is all I can say!
    I popped over from the mom-lovin hop.
    Great blog!
    xxoo lhasa

  6. Yeah, I think it's impossible to be a mom and NOT worry, even just a little. I have always been a HUGE worrier. I have really worked on changing that in the last year because I stress myself out for nothing. But like you said, a little worry can keep us on our toes and it really is because we CARE. I'd rather be a worry wart mom than someone who couldn't care less.

  7. I worry ALLLLL the time. It's difficult but at least I pay attention to my little one's cues and moods. Thanks for sharing at Time For Mom! I hope you join us again today!

  8. Oh, I am loving this blog already! Wonderful thoughts. We moms worry because we care, but we do have to give some of that to God.


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