#WorthRevisit: Professional-Grade Worry

Professional grade worry

I live a lot of my life in the realm of “what if,” probably borrowing trouble, but I can’t make it stop. Yesterday was a big day for worry around here. I had an afternoon meeting whose agenda included 3 sets of contingency plans. TheKid was on a diabetes roller-coaster ride, for reasons we hadn’t determined, so that was on my mind. And I had a lot to do for work — and all sorts of things were conspiring to distract me.

This morning I received an email that resolved the need for 2 of those 3 contingency plans, and I’m breathing a lot easier as a result. But looking back on my tendency to worry, I found my Small Steps blog tour “randomly-assigned” reflection — on worry.

(The Holy Spirit is funny like that.)


small steps

From Small Steps for Catholic Moms:

Think:

“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”

– St. Padre Pio

Pray:

Sweet Jesus, help me to replace the fearful conversation I have inside my head with constant prayer. Whenever I fall into my old habit of worrying interiorly, nudge me. Remind me to put it all in your hands instead.

Act:

Copy the quote above and put it in an obvious place where it will remind you not to let worry run around inside your head. Pray! Pray! Pray instead!

It very nearly killed me when I read the “randomly” assigned page that I was given to use. I think that out of this whole book–and I’ve read a good chunk of it already–this page is the one that speaks to me most right now. Shivers down the spine, friends! I am a pro at worrying and had never considered that worry is really based in fear. I could chew on this idea for much more than the single day that’s devoted to it … and I hope that by coming to terms with my tendency to worry, I can learn to put it aside and take my fears to prayer, laying them at the feet of the Lord instead of letting them weigh heavy on my soul and my family.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!


Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz
This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

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#MondayBlogs: Abundance: Trust vs. Hoarding

I have a pantry in my basement. This is an old photo, taken when all the kids still lived here full-time and we went through several boxes of cereal each week. My pantry is less crowded now, because there are only three of us here full-time. I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of shopping for only three (or four, when my daughter’s home from college). This means that I wind up buying too much, and some of it gets wasted because it goes bad before I can use it.

But I feel the need to keep that pantry (and my upright freezer) full.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

There’s this threshold in my mind — this imaginary line I must not cross. I was down to less than a quart of milk on Wednesday, and I knew I wouldn’t get to the store before Friday. Never mind that I live 1/4 mile from the nearest gallon of milk; I was expending a lot of mental energy over the lack of “enough” milk in my house. It’s not like anyone around here (except me) even regularly uses milk. But that milk level was below my threshold of comfort, and it bothered me until Saturday morning when I finally made it to the store. We still had some milk in the jug. We had not run out. And as I said already, my neighborhood is not food-insecure.

Thinking about this gets me a little anxious — even now that I have almost a full gallon of milk in the fridge.

Where do I draw the line between having too much stuff that I “might need someday” and having enough to use for what I need right now, as well as something to share?

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? (Luke 12: 25-26)

I’ve run into this issue before with medical supplies, but that’s different. VERY different. Medical supplies are non-negotiable, and I do need to be very aware of what we have, what we need, and whether there is enough.

As for the other things, how do I stop feeling that I must fill that available pantry space and instead be grateful for what is there? How do I dial back my threshold of “enough” when there is obviously plenty there? How do I trust enough to share from that abundance?

Because I really want to stop the worrying that kicks in when there’s only a quart of milk in the house.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

#WorthRevisit: A Podcast About Worry that I Need to Hear Again

I chose this fairly-recent post for Worth Revisit Wednesday because right now I’m feeling pretty anxious and overwhelmed, and I need to revisit Jeff and Gary’s podcast!

I figured I’d catch up on an episode of The Catholic Foodie Show. Yesterday’s program featured Gary Zimak, a Catholic author and speaker who lives in a neighboring town and who specializes in the subject of fear, worry and faith.

As Gary and Jeff shared about worry and how it tends to short-circuit prayer (except for the “God, help me!” kind), they encouraged listeners to remember to always praise God.

That reminded me of a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Faithful. Copy this down and put it where you’ll see it every day:

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.

This is going to be my focus, going forward. Let’s see where it takes me.

from fear to faithRight now I’m reading Gary’s book From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. It’s an excellent book to bring to Adoration. Chapters are short and there’s a lot of room for thought, prayer and reflection.

You can listen to this podcast here. When you’re done listening, bookmark the Breadbox Media website or download their app (free for iOS and Android) so you can find your favorite Catholic radio shows online or listen to archived episodes!

The fine print: the link to Gary Zimak’s book is an Amazon affiliate link, which puts a little extra in my pocket at no cost to you when you purchase this book through my link. Thanks!

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Worth Revisit: High Anxiety

Dentist appointment today! The same loose crown I was dealing with just about 3 years ago is, once again, loose. 2 weeks ago I went to the dentist to have them fix it, only to be told that if they removed it then, it might not be able to go right back in (and the day before your kid’s graduation is not the day to be looking like a hockey player). I unsuccessfully fought back tears as I made the appointment for today, to see the hygienist, get X-rays, and maybe have this crown fall out in the process and maybe they’ll be able to fix it today, but maybe not, in which case I’ll look like a hockey player at my kid’s graduation party.

There was anxiety to spare yesterday, and there’s plenty this morning as well. I’m offering my struggles with this for a young lady who’s also had a tough time with anxiety recently. I hope, at least, that my suffering will do a little good for someone this way.

From the Anxiety Archives for Worth Revisit Wednesday, I bring you some food for thought from 2011:

Remember that prayer that was on all those posters in the 70s: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together can’t handle”?

Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.
Photo via BarnImages.com. Text added in PicMonkey.

I’ve been letting anxiety get the better of me a little (a lot?) more than usual recently. And really, this has got to stop. When I was talking about this with a good friend, she mentioned that, lately, she has been making an effort to pray when anxiety starts to overcome her. She asks God to help her hand over the situation, to guide her words and actions.

Good advice.

But I don’t want to pray that prayer from the 70s posters. To be honest, I find that prayer a little arrogant.

As Father Cavanagh says in the movie Rudy, “I have come up with only two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I’m not him.”

Better to pray that God will guide me through a situation. I prefer this prayer, attributed to Father Mychal Judge, OFM, who perished in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center:
Lord, take me where you want me to go;
Let me meet who you want me to meet;
Tell me what you want me to say, and
Keep me out of your way.
There’s only one thing I may need to add to that: “Keep my foot out of my mouth.”

Amen.

worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

#WorthRevisit: Cast Your Cares Upon Him

I am a worrier. Professional-grade. If there’s a thing to worry about, I’ll worry.

I even worry after the fact.

On Sunday, Hubs surprised me with a fistful of tickets to the Notre Dame NCAA basketball game.

NCAA elite 8 game

I worried all day; how would we get there, where would we park, would TheKid have trouble bringing in his bag of diabetes essentials, would I feel well enough (that was iffy; I’m still coughing my head off in allergy-induced asthma attacks).

I worried all the way there, especially when we had to wait outside the Holiday Inn so Hubs could pick up the tickets at the StubHub office. I wasn’t the only one with thoughts of gloom and doom, as evidenced by my older son’s remark when Hubs returned to the car: “He’s back, and it seems like he still has both his kidneys…”

I worried as we funneled our way into the arena and I realized that I hadn’t removed my Swiss Army knife from my cosmetic bag (which contains exactly 0 cosmetics.) I hoped that the handbag inspectors wouldn’t notice. They didn’t.

I enjoyed the game very much, until the Irish lost. I didn’t do a lot of yelling, because that makes me cough. To my daughter and the people who were sitting in front of us, you’re welcome.

I even worried the next night, after it was all over! I said goodnight, went to bed, and had this half-asleep panic attack about sitting way up there in the arena–and falling forward and not being able to stop it.

I write a lot about worry, because that helps me to get it out of my head a little bit. If I talk about it with people in my family they just tell me to get over myself and stop worrying about pointless things, but it’s not something I can turn off like a water faucet.

To prove I’m Still Worried After All These Years, here’s a post from 2008 describing the exact same struggle.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

That was one of the messages in today’s first reading.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

This was the first time all week that I’ve been able to get to Mass, and the reading was just what I needed to hear.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

I was in my usual Worry Over What Might Happen Even If It’s Really Unlikely mode, all day long today.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

Tonight at our Secular Franciscans meeting, our ongoing formation centered on Mary. A theme that kept coming up in the discussion was her great trust, and the example she sets for us with the trust she displayed.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

If I’m worrying over what might happen, I’m not doing too much trusting, am I?

“Cast your cares upon Him….and He will lift you up.”

Finally as the meeting closed and we chatted while we cleaned up the room, I was lifted up. I laid down my cares and some wonderful friends reassured me. I wonder if my sisters in Francis know that their words and kindness meant so much.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

We were truly not meant to carry our cares all alone.

“Cast your cares upon Him.”

Today I’m going to spend some time listening to this favorite from John Michael Talbot. It always makes me feel better when I worry.


worth revisit

I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

Out of Control

I’ve been driving everyone around me crazy lately. There’s a lot to worry about, and if there’s anything I’m really good at, it’s worrying.

god first family then notre dameFor my birthday, my folk-group friends generously gave me 3 tickets for the Notre Dame-Temple football game. That game’s happening this weekend. Middle Sister loves football a lot more than Hubs, so she’s appropriated his ticket.

As the game approaches, I’ve found more and more things to worry about.

  • It’s an 8:00 game. That’s PM. I have a hard time staying awake through an 8:00 game, and now I’ll have to drive home afterward.
  • We’re fans of the visiting team. In Philly, that can be difficult.
  • I’m going to have to navigate TheKid, and his string backpack full of diabetes supplies and snacks, past whatever inspection stations you have to get past in order to get into the Linc.
  • Middle Sister wants to take the subway and meet us at the game. But it’s at night, and the return trip to LaSalle (past Temple, with all the Temple fans who will either be super euphoric or super angry) wouldn’t be pretty for a fan of the other team. And a 19-year-old girl traveling on the subway alone at that time of night? NO.
  • The game’s on Halloween. And did I mention that it’s an 8:00 game?

I just want to enjoy the opportunity to see my team play. And I know that’s all my friends wanted for me when they gave me those tickets.

Right now I’m deep into a state of general anxiety that makes me pretty difficult to live with. I’m getting ridiculously worried about all kinds of other things, things that I normally don’t think about. For example, last night we dropped TheKid off at the play. We had tickets, and he was called early, so we decided to go out to dinner before the show. I was wearing a white fleece jacket. All I could think about was that I should have packed a complete change of clothes (down to shoes) for both of us just in case a waiter spilled something on us, because we wouldn’t have time to go home and change.

I didn’t even say anything about that to Hubs, because how insane is that?

This morning I headed out to Wawa to get a hoagie for TheKid’s lunch today (he has two more shows, and we have to head straight from Mass to the theater to drop him off.) As I was driving, it occurred to me that no one knew where I was; they were both still sleeping at home; what if I got into an accident? How would they even know?

I need to make it stop, but I’m not sure I know how. I’m manufacturing worries here.

There are enough real things to worry about, and I suspect that I’m inventing fake worries to take my mind off the real stuff. I can’t do anything about the real things.

In four days, Hubs has an appointment at the cancer center for his 3-year, 36,000-mile checkup. I can’t believe it’s been 3 years. It feels like yesterday, and it also feels like forever ago. But that appointment is coming up. He’s super-stressed at work; I don’t know what’s going on there, because he has never been one to talk about things that happen at work. (He says he thinks about work enough while he’s there so he doesn’t want to talk about it at home.) He’s stressed about his mom in the nursing home. He doesn’t take good care of himself. Put all that together and you get a perfect storm for health problems.

I can’t control whether or not Hubs’ cancer has returned. There’s nothing I can do to change that.

Controlling every other little thing isn’t going to keep Hubs cancer-free either. So why can’t I make it stop?

A Must-Listen: The Catholic Foodie and Gary Zimak talk about worry

This morning I was up early worrying. I have a meeting later this morning, and I know the meeting itself will be fine. It’s just the pre-meeting preparation that gets to me. Every time.

I’m actually glad that I signed up to bring soup for the lunch we’ll have after the meeting, because cooking is one way I relax. Chopping, stirring, measuring and pouring–I find that very calming.

No one else in the house was awake yet, so I decided to cue up a podcast to keep me company while I prepared that soup. Since I was going to be cooking, I figured I’d catch up on an episode of The Catholic Foodie Show. Yesterday’s program featured Gary Zimak, a Catholic author and speaker who lives in a neighboring town and who specializes in the subject of fear, worry and faith.

As Gary and Jeff shared about worry and how it tends to short-circuit prayer (except for the “God, help me!” kind), they encouraged listeners to remember to always praise God.

That reminded me of a line from St. Francis of Assisi’s Letter to the Faithful. Copy this down and put it where you’ll see it every day:

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks, and serve him with great humility.

This is going to be my focus, going forward. Let’s see where it takes me.

from fear to faithRight now I’m reading Gary’s book From Fear to Faith: A Worrier’s Guide to Discovering Peace. It’s an excellent book to bring to Adoration. Chapters are short and there’s a lot of room for thought, prayer and reflection.

You can listen to this podcast here. When you’re done listening, bookmark the Breadbox Media website or download their app (free for iOS and Android) so you can find your favorite Catholic radio shows online or listen to archived episodes!

The fine print: the link to Gary Zimak’s book is an Amazon affiliate link, which puts a little extra in my pocket at no cost to you when you purchase this book through my link. Thanks!