For much of my life I’ve been a worrywart. I’ve spent a lot of time looking toward the next big thing. Sometimes, I could see it clearly, much like a vision, I suppose. I would grow restless and frustrated, wanting the vision to become reality so I could move on. To what? Satisfaction? Peace? No, Baby! Not me! I was ready to move to the next thing; the next degree, production, job. The next WORRY! As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve come to realize that I’ve missed opportunities to do good and BE good for someone else in some small way because I was so focused on my inner worrywart, me. What God wanted for ME. What God wanted ME to do. How well I did it. How folks received it ( me). I had good intentions, but, let’s face it! I was a bit egotistical in my thinking! I have now come to believe that all God wants me to BE is available. Open. Close to Him, so that He can use me in some small way that may be significant to someone else. What I am saying to all of you, tired and frustrated, the old, the young, and the restless, is to consider the lilies, just being in the presence of God and staying where they are and emitting radiance and beauty. Consider the lilies. Arrayed in the splendor of God’s glory, and not fretting the future. Just BEING. I know that I’m always giving advice from an older person’s perspective, (Well, I am older) and it might seem overly obvious or too preachy or not about you. But, I believe that God has given me the gifts of reflection and introspection so that I might share what I’ve learned along the way, with you. So, take some time to JUST BE. You can start with this blog! Consider the lilies. “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-33 So, how do I “consider the lilies?” One of the things that helps me is to “seek first the kingdom of God” by practicing and acting from a place of gratitude. When I wake up or find myself in a worrisome space, I do a walking meditation. It goes like this: I walk slowly and breathe deeply. As each foot falls firmly on the floor (my yoga instructor call this the 4 corners of your feet), I exhale and name something or someone for which I am grateful. I usually do this for 5-10 minutes. This not only quiets my mind, it gives me perspective. Know why? Because a lot of the things for which I am most grateful, I have no control over. I have no control over having a loving and supportive husband or a peaceful home or a job I love or wonderful children. Yet, they are these wonderful, soul-sustaining, joyful gifts with which I am blessed. What I have control over is how I interact with them. Do I nurture and love them? Show appreciation for them? Protect them? Do I love and support them? That’s where I have control. So, here it is! Whatever I am fretting over is no longer a worry or bother. Because it is wrapped in gratitude, it becomes a plan. A challenge. An act of faith. Sounds better than a problem or a worry, doesn’t it? Another “Consider the lilies” practice: Whenever I am faced with a worrisome situation, I start visualizing myself doing what I need to do in the given situation. In other words, I craft a positive, intentional plan of action. I go from what is the problem? to one of the following questions: How do see myself reacting in this situation? How do I maintain my integrity? How have I behaved in similar situations? How did it work for all involved? And my favorite …What’s the worst thing that can happen? This takes the worry away. Now, I am released from controlling a situation and can focus my energy on being IN the situation, fully who I am. I mean my best, authentic self, as I deal with the situation. When things are particularly troublesome, I acknowledge them. I say something like, “ O.K. Here’s the situation. It’s real. I have no idea why I am dealing with this right now, but, I am grateful that I have all the tools and resources necessary to deal with it, and more importantly, I know that on the other side of the situation, I will be wiser and stronger. Thank you, God.” Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? A bit idealistic? I know, but try it anyway ! The next time you feel worried, do a little gratitude walk. Then visualize yourself in the situation. Think best case and worst case scenario and then choose a plan of action. And finally, remind yourself that you are enough. See yourself as a beautiful lily, arrayed in all of your splendor. Be thankful that you have access to everything you need to help push you beyond worry to wonder.
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