I don’t know if I said this before, but I’m a planner and a fixer. Don’t you think it sounds much better than a pathological, neurotic, worrier? I need to know what I’m doing, and I what everyone else is doing as it relates to me and what I’m doing. And if it doesn’t have anything to do with me, I still like to know what’s going on just in case it might affect me at some future date and time.
I need to know the weather for the week, I start planning dinner as I’m finishing my breakfast bagel. Now that doesn’t mean I actually HAVE dinner ready at 6pm–I just start planning it at 7am. If I managed to FIX the meal I planned, well, that would be organized. I never claimed to be organized. And just for the record, not that I’m keeping score or anything, I’m NOT as much of a planner and fixer (AKA, neurotic worrier) as SOME of my friends. One of the keys to appearing “normal” is to friend people who are a lot LESS normal.
I have come a long way from the way I used to be. I did stop watching the local news–especially the 11pm one. A car crash on 309 had me having panic attacks about my son being in the accident. Never mind that he’s 11, cannot drive, and is safely tucked in bed. An Amber Alert would have me double checking to see what my kids were wearing so I could give an accurate description if they managed to escape the confines of the house. Weather reports had me making up disaster kits and storing them in my basement.
Now I try to read and watch something relaxing and fun. A hint here–don’t pick the Food Network. It just makes you hungry at 11pm and they you have to worry how many calories are actually IN a Rita’s Water Ice. From what I hear, quite a lot.
So I’ve started trying to surrender to not knowing–maybe I want to really adopt the whole “ignorance is bliss” mentality. It really might help me sleep more at night–not knowing why there are cop cars across the street at my neighbors house. Not knowing can be freeing. I don’t need to know why S snubbed me at the grocery store. I don’t need to know what R said to H. It really isn’t necessary for me to know why the kids are fighting, or who hates who, or anything else that is going on in the world.
Does it mean I’m hoping to live in a little, naive bubble where nothing ever goes wrong? No. I do read the news. It’s less stressful than watching it on TV. I try to keep up on politics and enjoy a good discussion about how Obama is a socialist and is trying to turn us into Kenya. But I don’t need to be borrowing worry. As Gretchen posted on her personal resolutions blog, “don’t rehearse unhappiness” (see, I knew I’d end up “borrowing” it.)
As a Christian, I worry (HA) that worrying is, well a little, unchristian? Gandhi said, “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” Ouch. But he’s right, Matthew 6:27 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?”
The other day, I had a friend do a wonderful thing for me. I spent an entire day “not knowing.” She treated me to a fabulous day because she is a fabulous person. And for some strange reason, she thought I was a fabulous person and deserved my day. (See, it’s also helpful to pick friends who are more fabulous than you are–I have a ton of them). But if she’d come to me, and told me what she’d planned, I never would have agreed. I’d have given one excuse or another and even if I’d gone along with it (unlikely), I would have spent the entire day worrying about getting everything done. But I took a breath, a DEEP breath, and surrendered to not knowing what she’d planned for me. And it was just what I need to regain balance and sense of place in the world.
Surrender means to, “give up or agree to forgo to the power or possession of another.” Giving up the constant pressure of knowing everything sounds very freeing. Surprise parties, finding about the boy who “likes” you, the moment he pops the question, the sex of a new baby–all of those are wonderful not knowing moments. When we surrender to not knowing, putting our worry and control in God’s hands, every moment of our lives can be fresh opportunities to grow as Christians and individuals.