Because I Worry

Ever wake up in the middle of the night with the conviction that anything that possibly can go wrong with your life will? This week I had one of those moments. Nothing bad had happened. I was in the middle of an ordinary week of teacher training, grocery shopping, laundry, and parenting our two sons. Blame it on the drizzle outside, but suddenly small concerns in every facet of my life—in the parenting, professional, and financial departments—rose together and came crashing down on me in a big wave of anxiety about 1 a.m. Wednesday. My faith gives me a way to cope when angst ambushes me: prayer.

Nothing is new about worry. Prayer beads are found in every world religion. As early as 500 B.C. in India, people were praying with beads. The use of prayer beads spread along trade routes to the Middle East, where Muslims call them misbaha, and to China and Japan, where Buddhists call them malas.

My worries arise when I begin to imagine that I am the one controlling the outcome of my efforts. Praying my Rosary calms me and reminds me that our Triune God, and not me, is the master of my universe.

When I awoke Wednesday morning, I cried and ruminated for several minutes. My Rosary was outside in the family van, hanging from the rear view mirror, so I prayed a series of prayers I often do to calm myself: ten Our Fathers, ten Hail Marys, ten Glory Be’s. I count them on my fingers. I didn’t even get through the ten Hail Marys before I had fallen back asleep, secure in the knowledge that God had taken my worries away, along with my illusions of control.

I am Catholic because I know God willed me into being and that I remain under his effusively loving care, no matter the uncertainties and frustrations I face. What did God send His Son to tell us?

Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them.If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?

 No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

  • Ellen

    Allison,Perfect timing! I awoke last night with an anxiety attack about the future of my business. I did in fact pray, and did in fact eventually fall back to sleep. I think the key is trust. We "know" what Jesus said; we have to remind ourselves to trust in it.BTW–this is my first comment in a long, long time (since you started blogging here), so let me tell you how much I love your posts! I tell Webster all the time what a great addition you are to his blogging team. God Bless and thanks for the great reminder.

  • Anonymous

    Y I worry: I'm a single older lady in an old old house — rosary beads in every room.

  • Michael (NZ)

    I once read that worry is based on FEAR or F.E.A.R. – false evidence appearing real. But yes, the Rosary is such a great gift. I have two uses for it, i.e. the Rosary of our Lady and the Rosary of Liberation: The latter is based on the Word of God, asking Jesus Christ Our Lord for healing, salvation and liberation (Jn 8:36) as follows (you can pray it by mentioning any difficulty):Jesus, have mercy on me! Jesus, heal me!Jesus, save me!Jesus, free me!If you are praying for your family, you could pray "Jesus, have mercy on my family / heal my family etc"On the large bead you pray : "If Jesus makes me free, I will be free indeed! (Change this according to the prayer.)Thanks for this post, Allison – there's a great resonance on my side!Regards and blessings

  • Anonymous

    If I wake up and can't fall back to sleep I too pray the Rosary. When I drive, I pray as well using my fingers. I keep a Rosary next to my pillow, and many a time I search for it frantically during the night in my sleep.It definitely calms me down all the time.

  • Anonymous

    Oh Allison, I am worrying about my life. Very sad and worried about things that are going wrong and wondering if I have made the wrong decisions. Requesting your prayers. (I also keep a decade Rosary next to my pillow. It has a Benedictine Cross on it and whenever I wake up from a scary dream I only have to cling to it to be at peace and go back to sleep. I love St. Benedict for taking care of me). Rose

  • Martin

    The rosary is a marvellous aid in a time of stress or fear. My ten year old son, who suffers from anxiety attacks, sleeps with a rosary under his pillow and often when I go in to check on him last thing at night he is asleep with it in his hand. He has had it so long that the facets have worn off the beads (it was only a cheap one).It is indeed a great source of comfort.

  • Maria

    "My Father never tired of reminding me ( so anxious by nature): Who among you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature'…and "sufficient unto the day is the eveil thereof" and " In the world you will find trouble. In my you will find peace. Fear not for I have overcome the world"…It took me DECADES and DECADES to understand what ANY of these words meant. Now, thanks to His Love, I do…

  • Allison

    @Rose: I certainly will keep you in my prayers.@Maria: Do you mean decades as in years or decades as in rosary beads? It works both ways, yes?!@Martin: How wonderful you have offered this gift to your son.