Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Worries!

"No worries, mate!"  This saying is common in Australia, where the lifestyle is way more laid back than it is in Canada and the United States.  Sometimes, when I hear 'Aussies' say, "No worries," I think to myself, "If only!"

Once in a while, a vivid image from my childhood intrudes upon my thoughts.  It could be an experience from start to finish, or just a snippet of a memory, or an action I saw someone do often - any number of things.  

Today the image was of something I saw someone do often when I was a child - and thought it was normal until I was much older.  

There was this one woman I knew who, every time her husband was more than a few minutes late coming home on a Friday night from work, would imagine all kinds of horrible things that could have happened to him to make him late - never anything innocuous, you understand - only the worst case scenarios.  

She'd walk the floor literally wringing her hands, saying to herself (out loud, no less), "Oh, he probably went to the tavern and then got in that car half-drunk - he's probably in a ditch somewhere bleeding ..." and so forth until she was in such a tizzy that she got everyone in her family either as worried as she was, or trying to calm her down.  

The message I got from all of that was that if you loved someone, you'd fret and stew about them until you made yourself sick.  "I was worried sick about you" became a badge of honour, a proof of the degree of love someone had for someone else.  What it really was ... was fear.  Fear of losing her husband, fear that he would do something stupid and leave her a widow with no means of financial or domestic support ... and no transportation because of course in those days very few stay-at-home housewives in our community had a driver's license.  

Even though it was absurd, the worry-lifestyle carried over into my adult life and I found myself obsessing about my husband and my children that way.  Not to the point of wringing my hands, but I wasn't able to rest until they were safe at home.  When I realized that my worry was from fear, that it showed a lack of trust that God would take care of them and could run things far better than I could - I knew that this was a problem in my life.  But I couldn't make it better, try as I might.  

When I started my healing process and turned my life over to God's care, I learned that I had boundaries, and other people had them too, learned that I was responsible for me and they were responsible for them, and learned how to let go of my need to control them and their situations.  Letting go quite literally set me free - and I found that as I learned to let go of other people and their "stuff", that I was better able to let go of the stuff in my own life over which I had absolutely no control.  It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  But my stress level went from somewhere in the 90th percentile down to about ... realistically ... 40 percent.  

I'd call that improvement.  And I look forward to the day when I can say (with the Aussies) "No worries!"

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