I’m wondering right now what you are thinking after you read the title of this post. Are you wondering what in the world is she thinking or are you curious enough to keep reading?
Making space for worry goes against the mainstream of our culture. It pushes us in a direction that polite society encourages us not to pursue.
If you are even just a smidge like me, then you experience worry in your life. It is unrealistic to believe we can push it under the carpet without a second thought.
So let’s make space for worry constructively and then move forward.
The Beginnings of Worry
When God created the world, He dedicated a beautiful garden as the living space for man and woman. The Garden of Eden overflowed with everything they could ever need for themselves and their future family.
But as with anything that looks so perfect; the garden became the signpost for disobedience. The future of man was tinged with sin and worry set in.
After eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve found themselves naked. Their first instinct was to hide because of the shame that enveloped them.
God’s response is recorded in this way:
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:9-12
What at first glance looked like a life of abundance for Adam and Eve, quickly turned into a life of shame and disobedience.
The perfect ingredients to push anyone into a season of worry.
The perfect batch of overwhelm just waiting to be served.
When Did You Learn to Worry?
As a young child, I never thought twice about making space for worry. Life was simple, unencumbered, and fun. It wasn’t until I close to high school age that I began to feel the pangs of worry. My mom began many conversations with how worried she would be if … (fill in the blank).
I am one of five children and the other siblings are all boys. I’m not sure if mom began conversations the same way with them as she did me. Being the only girl led me into a state of worry more often because my mom was “worried.”
As parents it is easy to put our emotions on our children because we are feeling something that looks bigger than us so it spills out into the open.
Whether you began to worry at a very young age or you were older, it is a part of your DNA. How you express worry or talk about it makes a difference in where you land on the worry spectrum from worrying too much to totally carefree.
Your age, stage in life, and how you handle worry can make a difference in how you make space for worry.
The bottom line is that taking the time to acknowledge your worry as well as not letting it overwhelm you is a good practice for all.
Three Ways to Make Space for Worry
I am the woman who can move from zero to sixty in a second flat when it comes to things dealing with money. It is an area in my life that will generate worry faster than anything else. I have learned how to take this worry over money and not let it totally consume me.
The first way when making space for worry is to “just breathe.” I choose this for many challenges in my life. The act of breathing will lower your heart rate and the oxygen will clear some of the fog that comes with the worry.
The second way when feeling overwhelmed is to whisper the words, “I can’t, but I know you can God.” Sometimes it comes out in a rush and I am not even aware I am doing it and other times it is an intentional breath prayer of inhaling and exhaling the words. There is power in calling upon God and you can grasp the beginning of healing from anxiety when pausing your rapid-fire thoughts.
Third, you can choose a perspective change. Let the worry wash over you, but then go for a walk, sing, dance, create something, or go take a drive. The choice is yours but the end result will have others noticing something has changed.
Here’s another post I wrote as we were coming out of the pandemic restrictions. I pray the perspectives in this post help you too.When worrying feels as natural as breathing, notice it, name it, make space for God to sit with you, and then release it. Making Space for Worry Click To Tweet
How do you make space for worry? What ways can you add to my list above?
Empowering women to walk in brave faith one heart at a time!
Two podcasts to help you with this subject are:
Revelation Wellness #699 – John Eldredge: Resilient
That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs #388: John Eldredge + Resilient
I loved both of these podcasts. They both interview John Eldredge but are not exactly the same. I learned so much and listened to both twice.
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I read this before and never got back to commenting, Mary. I definitely am a worrier. I love your advice to name it, to breathe, and to make space for it with God who can give us grace to release it. Thank you! Also for your soul-refreshing photos! It’s great to see you here again. Love and blessings to you!
Thank you for stopping by to comment. I wrote this advice for all of us but am finding I need it the most for myself.
It’s always great to see you, Trudy.
As someone who also is quite familiar with worry, you give good tips, Mary. I’m glad God never abandons me in the midst of my worry but guides me through it until I get to the other side!
Amen! God is never far away from us on the journey of our lives. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you.
This post speaks directly to my worry-prone ways. I make a practice of surrendering my children to Him each day in order to avoid holding onto worry.
Thank you for these wonderful suggestions and for linking up. I’ll be sharing at Grace and Truth next week.
Hi Tammy! Thank you for being here. I love knowing that this post spoke to you. Thank you for sharing my post at Grace and Truth. I hope you have a wonderful week.
Years of worry and hand-wringing and a glass-half-empty attitude combined with honest, deep grief left me in such a state of anxiety I didn’t know if I’d survive.
I did. Because of Jesus. A good doctor. Changes in habits. And developing a ‘whatever’ attitude to the things that used to grab at me.
It’s still one day at a time. I know He likes it that way.
I believe Jesus is a one day at a time kind of God too. Honestly I don’t know any other way to make it through. Thank you for sharing your experience with anxiety. I also had severe anxiety beginning seven years ago and it was due to loss and the subsequent grief. I also had the help of doctors, a counselor, and the grace of God to be in a much better place today. I will admit I get a little off track more easily again after Covid and I am working on how to lean into God for all I need.
Money and children are my two go-to worries! Shifting my perspective also gives me room to understand the worry better, and even to strategically see that there is no need to worry. Seeing how God has taken care of me in the past also helps!
Sounds like we are alike in what we worry about. I love that you also shift your perspective and I imagine you take a walk or a hike since you love the outdoors. Thank you of pointing out how we can reflect on God’s faithfulness in the past as another way to move forward when worry strikes.
Ugh, yes, I’m a natural! In fact, my husband calls me “Eeyore” in honor of my talent for finding the dark cloud instead of the silver lining.
I appreciate your wisdom here. We look squarely at whatever the situation is and then offer it back to God as a gift–even if worry is all I have in my hands at the moment of offering…
I guess being called Eeyore is not a terrible thing. 😉 It’s easier for me to go down the dark road when things get hard more often than the road that leads to light. I am working on naming it and then releasing it to God. It is not easy for me at all. God is very patient with His reminders.
Mary, my siblings’ childhood nickname for me was “Worry Busby,” if that tells you anything about my experience with this. Like you, I believe the tendency was passed down to me from my mom, who dealt with some level of anxiety all her life. Perhaps ironically, God graciously used the trial of infertility to break many of these chains. But I still find myself in spots where I need to “make space for worry,” as you describe it, and cast my cares upon Jesus. So glad you shared this today, my friend.
Having a nickname isn’t so bad especially since you share that you have learned from it. I imagine many of us get certain traits from our parents honestly. They do what they know and then we do the same. I love that you can make space for worry and then release it to God. That is a blessing.
Mary, such practical suggestions. I’ve definitely grappled with worry this year. Just breathe is something I’ve been doing too. I recently read Jennie Allen’s book, Get Out Of Your Head, and I really appreciated her suggestions as well.
Sending you a hug today, friend.
Thank you for stopping by, Jeanne. Worry seems to show up often and I am always trying to fix it. God is showing me how I need Him in the process and I know that to be true. I have Jennie Allen’s book on Audible but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. I am currently listening to Soundtracks by Jon Acuff and it is really good.
I hope you find great joy in sending your son off to college. I am praying for you.