by Holly Varni
May 30, 2022

I’m pretty sure some of us are born with the “worrywart” gene. No matter what you call it— being anxious, feeling uneasy or apprehensive, having a tendency to agonize, or simply losing yourself to utter despair—that creeping dread in the pit of your tummy is a pretty common thing today.   

Polite people with dainty dispositions say they’re “troubled at heart” or “fretting” about something. Personally, I’ve always appreciated those with a dramatic flair who lean toward hysterics. The way they anguish over things, torment themselves, and exist in a state of fear, makes me feel a little more normal and less lonely on my sleepless nights. We’re all on Team Distressed.

Diehards like me, the true alarmists who worry like we’re competing for an Olympic medal, have the gift of getting ourselves into a good tizzy about nearly everything—what happened, what is happening, and even what may happen. I like to believe that only the truly talented are able to bundle up the past, present, and future into a good panic attack.

To the disappointment of my family, my worrywart gene hasn’t diminished with age. Many think a calm descends in the golden years, and older folks become Zen about the problems around us, like we’ve exchanged worrying for tai chi and water aerobics, but that’s not the case. I worry because I care, at least that’s what I tell me kids. “I will always worry about you because I love you.”   

But my logic is turned upside down when I’m reminded that the words “do not fear” appear 365 times in the Bible. You don’t have to be the brightest crayon in the box to notice the coincidence that there’s a reminder for every day of the year. The good Lord apparently knew the state I’d work myself into about, well, just about everything, and He wanted to make sure I got the message every day. A bit of an overkill for those less neurotic, but it certainly drives home the point for the dedicated doomsayers.

The Lord’s encouragement to let go of our worry and exchange it for trust is repeated enough for even someone as committed to stewing over things as me. Then to show off His omnipotence, He wants us to hand over our heartache. Trust Him with the next breath, the next moment, and the one after that, until we feel peace.

So, I do. I take a big breath and remember all that is good and all I have to be grateful for. I hand over my burden to a heart and hands immeasurably bigger than mine.

I experience the blessings of right now and don’t dwell on what may come. I’ll worry about that tomorrow.