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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Maybe It Won't Be So Bad Afterall

Although I can’t stake any claim to conquering worry completely, many years ago as a fairly new Christian, I heard a concept that began my mental and emotional transformation about worry. I attended a seminar where the speaker gave an antidote for worry: “Think of the worst possible thing that can happen and then think of reasons why it wouldn’t be so bad after all,” citing Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB)

Hmmm. An interesting concept. Obviously scriptural. I mulled it over and then got worried! I don’t think I want to give God the impression He has my permission to do the worst possible thing!

It seemed to be a risk, but my heart longed to be free from the nagging worries that ruled my life. I was nineteen or twenty, yet I felt like worry was my daily portion—like a storm cloud always threatening on the horizon. I had to think about how my friend may have misunderstood what I’d said. I had to be concerned about my grades in college. I had to wonder about my future. Of course, I used those innocuous words because I worried that someone would think I wasn’t a strong Christian if I used the word “worry.” I felt tense, even condemned, because I knew God couldn’t be pleased with me as a worry wart!

Then came the day I attended that seminar and the antidote stood out in bold relief. Can I apply it? I decided I would try.

The day after the seminar I returned to my part time job in the morning and college classes afterwards. There were no extra minutes between the two. I often fretted about arriving late to class.

That morning I left work late because my boss pulled me aside to discuss something. As I drove, my stomach churned. I envisioned walking into the classroom late with all eyes on me and the teacher making some belittling comment. Then I remembered the speaker's principle: “Think of the worst possible thing that can happen and then think of reasons why it wouldn’t be so bad after all.” I rehearsed Romans 8:28. Here’s my chance, I mused. What good thing could happen from being late? I paused to try to think of something. OK…I’ll be noticed! But that’s the very thing I’m afraid of!

I smiled. But wait! I’ve been trying to share Christ with my fellow students. Maybe I can use being late to tell my new friend about how worried I was and how God gave me peace of mind!

Bingo! With those thoughts, my anxiety level diminished. I couldn’t wait to be late to class! I didn’t need to drive like a maniac! God was going to use it!

Ten minutes later, I walked into class without my typical breathlessness and was shocked to see that the teacher hadn’t even arrived yet. He was late! I took my seat beside my new friend and I told her what happened. We laughed together.

That day I saw two truths about worry: God can bring good out of what we worry about and most of the time, what we worry about, doesn’t happen! The principle of Romans 8:28 began to diminish the hold that worry had over me.

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