“Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.” ― St. Padre Pio
Back on September 23, the feast of St. Padre Pio, I issued a “worry list” challenge and invited readers to join along. I came up with five big things that were, so to speak, keeping me awake at night. I wrote the worries out on a piece of journal paper and placed the paper in the back of my Bible, a symbol for placing my worries in God’s hands. I marked my calendar three months forward, December 23, with a note to check back on my worry list. I also promised to check back here.
I did indeed check back on my worry list on December 23. But I did not check back here. Please allow me to close the loop here and now.
So did I wake up on December 23 in WonkaLand, the sugar-fueled land of imagination with no more cares and worries in the world? Hardly. Now even five months after drafting my list, three of the five items on it are still very unresolved. But I certainly found value in naming my worries. The process of sitting down, thinking about, and then writing out the worrisome stuff in my life actually forced me to be very specific about each of them. I asked:
- Why is this even bothering me?
- What’s behind that worry?
- What behaviors can I change, internal and/or external?
The answers to those questions, and this process in general, helped me get a better handle on a few worries that were taking up a lot of my time and energy. And now circling back around here today has prompted me to revisit those remaining unresolved areas. Not only am I encouraged to remain faithful in prayer over them, but also reapply those questions above and maybe even discover some new insights.
Did you or have you ever completed a worry list? What did you learn?