"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)
I think I have the worry gene. And I'm sure I got it from my mother. She passed down her aqua blue eyes to me, her slightly-crooked smile and her tendency to worry.
This trait didn't show up when I was younger. In fact, when I was a teenager, I thought it strange that my mom couldn't go to sleep until I got home. Then, I had teenagers of my own, and now I do what she did: sit on the couch appearing to watch television, while my mind rehearses the quickest route to the hospital, or perhaps even plans a funeral.
Before I had children, I didn't understand the stories my mom shared about her concerns for my health. When I was a toddler, she took me to the doctor because I kept falling when I walked. After observing me play in his office, he assured her that my mind was working faster than my legs. I wanted one object and headed toward it, but then changed my mind and wanted something else.
You'd think the story would have calmed my own fears when I became a mom. Not so. When my first-born was more than a year old and not yet crawling, I was certain something was medically wrong and headed to the doctor.
Today, I find endless reasons to worry. Kids. Marriage. Finances. Health. Relationships. The future. If I let my thoughts run wild, I can concoct all sorts of terrible scenarios, all starting with "what if." What if my husband gets laid off? What if my aging parent needs to move into a nursing home or live with us? What if I get sick and can no longer care for my family?
Over time, I've noticed something about worry: 99% of my past dreads never came true. However, I spent oodles of time fretting about them. How I wish I could redeem that time, to do something productive instead! What if I had turned my worry into worship?
Contrast my attitude with the woman in today's key verse, Proverbs 31:25 says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." No weariness in her thoughts and actions. She laughed at the days to come! Not in a careless sort of way, but with a confidence that came from God.
Because she wore strength and dignity due to her faith in God, she had a smile on her face and a chuckle in her heart when considering the future. She trusted in God, whose faithfulness in the past assured her He would work out circumstances in the future.
This has happened many times in my life. Often, things that concerned me have turned out to be blessings instead. For example, when our son was in third grade, we discovered he had severe dyslexia. Oh, the time I spent worried about his academic progress! Even fun milestones for other children were cause for fretting. Would he pass his hunter safety course? His driver's ed written test? And what about college?
God used my son's learning disability to grow my faith. As I learned to turn my panic into fervent prayer and praise, and trust God's plan and timing, my relationship with God strengthened. Plus, we saw our son grow stronger and more confident as he overcame each cognitive hurdle.
That's just one way God worked in me to replace my worry gene with confidence in Him. Each time I've turned worry into worship, I find it easier to laugh at the days to come, like my Proverbs 31 sister.
God knows my future as well as He knows me. My job is to seek to know Him more as I place my future in His hands.
Oh, and to laugh a little more often.
Dear Lord, help me turn my worry into worship, believing that You alone know the future. May I rest in Your loving arms, knowing You have my best interest at heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Was there ever a time you were worried about something that never came true? In retrospect, how do you wish you had handled it differently?
Spend some time today praying over your concerns. Choose to trust God has you in His care.
Psalm 112:7, "They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord." (NIV)
© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105