How often do you think about these types of questions:
• What are we going to do about …..
• What if [XXXX] happens ….
• What if [XXXX] doesn’t happen ….
• How are we going to handle ….
• What are we going to do if ….
These are all potentially worry questions. I say potentially because there are times that serious, problem-solving discussion is beneficial and it may start with questions such as these. But more often, these types of questions are at the core of worry — unproductive, energy-zapping, and stress-filled worry.
When learning to let go of the habit of worry, one of the challenges that a person might face is the belief that their worry equals being responsible; they believe their worry is a demonstration of how much they care about something. As long as they are worrying, (i.e., constantly thinking about; trying to figure out the answer; over-analyzing; pouring over; etc), they believe they are showing the quality of being responsible; they care. They fear that if they stop worrying, it will be seen as not caring or that they are not being responsible in how they’re handling the situation.
“If I stop thinking about it, even for a while, then I must not care” they muse. Well, muse is the wrong word. In reality, they worry about not worrying. That’s more accurate. Thus, a worry embedded inside of a worry.
Interjecting a faith perspective here, a person might also think if they’re not worrying, then God will get the idea they don’t care and therefore, He won’t help and guide them; He won’t answer their prayer. Forget about God knowing our hearts; we want to be sure He knows and we do that through worry.
In honest self-assessment, have you ever:
> Had an argument with your spouse because you thought they didn’t care when the possibility exists they simply chose not to worry
> Persistently worried, losing time, energy and productivity because the moment you tried to stop, your inner chatter hit you with, “Wow, you must not care what happens”
> Perseverated on worry thoughts to be sure God knew how much you cared; even believing your worry thoughts were the same as prayer
If you want to let go of your worry pattern, you must first choose to let go of the belief that worry equals caring and constant thinking and analyzing equals being responsible.
Worry does not mean you care any more or any less ~ Neither does not worrying.
Fueling Your Inner Fire with ACTION:
When you find yourself consumed with worry about something, ask yourself, “Is there anything else I can do about this right now?”
When you have done everything you know to do, resist your worry thoughts. Replace them with a thought such as, “I have done everything I know to do; when I know more, I will do more; until then, I live in peace.”
Are you worried because you’re afraid of what it means if you don’t?
That belief isn’t true. It’s OK to let go of it.