Worries and cares of this life cause us to wonder what if? A study has proven that 85% of what we worry about never happens. And when the what ifs do happen, you will be able to handle it better than expected.
Worry: 85% of it never happens
This study investigated how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. Subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen.
The results showed that
- 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened,
- and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning.
I have spent most of my time worrying about things that have never happened. ~ Mark Twain
Living with a spouse who suffers with anxiety is a challenge in our marriage. I am learning to be empathetic, but I still don’t understand the consuming battle Dennis has with anxiety.
Reading the Word of God is an addiction and a delight for me. When I read 1 Peter 5:7 recently, it felt as if a lightning bolt electrified my spirit. Researching this verse in different Bible translations gave me days of journaling material.
Dennis tells me I am a strong woman of faith, comparing me to Tigger (from Winnie the Pooh). My personality finds the silver lining in every dark cloud.
But when our children or grandchildren go through difficulty, he notices I tend to carry the worry. Like Piglet.
This is my dilemma: I kneel in prayer, hand the burden of my babies over to the Lord–only to pick them right back up as soon as I stand upright.
Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 (TPT)
Leave them there.
Reading the verse in this translation reminded me of the story of The Trouble Tree.
The Trouble Tree
A man hired a carpenter to help him restore an old farmhouse. After a rough first day on the job, the carpenter had a flat tire that made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and then his old pickup truck refused to start.
The man noticed a peculiar thing the carpenter did when he gave him a ride home. As he walked to the front door, he briefly touched the tips of the branches of a small tree with both hands. Opening the front door to his house, his tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he greeted his wife and children warmly.
Curious of the transformation, the man asked the carpenter why he’d touched the tree before walking into his home.
Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied.” I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”
“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there ain’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
Sometimes what was so worrisome the night before doesn’t seem so bad after a good night’s sleep.
Reading the Trouble Tree story gave me an idea. What if we literally took action on 1 Peter 5:7 and do as it says?
Our Cares/Worry Jar
I took a clear jar with a lid and printed the scripture onto labels. The front of the jar has “Casting all your cares on him……” and on the back is written “and leave them there.” On the lid, the word C. A. R. E. S.
- As concerns come up, Dennis and I write out our cares, worries, and anxious concerns on slips of paper.
- When we are tempted to worry, the jar is a visual reminder to leave them there.
- Once a week, we go through the jar’s contents, one by one, to see if the 85% of what we worried about happened.
Teachers use worry boxes/jars with anxious students, calling it a cognitive behavioral therapy technique. Janis Gloia explains:
Worry Boxes/Jars contain worries for the child. The container keeps the worries, so the child can let them go. Like journaling, which is an effective therapy technique, writing or drawing the worry gets it out of the child’s mind and into a “vessel” where it is contained.
The ability for a child to identify the source of anxiety, figuratively detach from it, and develop a mental or physical representation to assist them in containing it, can be amazingly powerful!
Each week as we go through our Cares Jar, we rejoice in God’s faithfulness. Some what ifs never happen, but if they do, His strength has been all the sufficiency we need to handle them.
Do you think your family could use a Worry Box or Care Jar?
What cares do you need to give to God?
What will help you to LEAVE THEM THERE?
I am excited to share with you a new resource from Christie Thomas. Her blogs encourage parents how to love their anxious children. Quinn’s Promise Rock is a cute story designed to help worried/fearful/anxious kids trust God.
Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash