Maybe you’re worried about an upcoming race or event or difficulty.
Generally speaking I am not a person who worries. For the most part this is a helpful trait. Sometimes though, when I do board that worry train I can feel a bit overwhelmed.
I can remember that when I was younger my coping strategy with any big task ahead of me was to ask myself “what is the worse that can happen? Death?” The answer was always “no, I’m not gonna die!” so I didn’t worry. One day, while in college, I was sitting at my desk reading a novel just before a mid-term exam. A fellow student asked me, “how can you read before this test?” I replied, “if I’m not ready by now, no amount of last minute studying will help.”
Later, when I began to follow Jesus I learned that not even death can separate me (or anyone else) from his love. This caused me to rethink my earlier coping strategy, as death was not the worse that could happen. So it was even easier not to worry… until it wasn’t!
A week from tomorrow I will run my second marathon. My first was the very same race, which I completed in 5 hours and 51 minutes. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever done… so of course I decided to do it again!
This year I participated in a group training program (highly recommended by the way). Amazingly, up to today, 4 months after starting with them I haven’t missed one workout. I’ve lost another 15 pounds in the process and my easy training pace is improved enough that if I just run at that pace I would take 40 minutes off my time. So I am ready! Last week I was even enthusiastic.
If I were my younger self I should be reading a novel and relaxing. But instead I’ve spent the last few days worrying, mostly about the weather forecast of +80°. So what to do? I need to follow some of the pastoral advice that I give to others. Maybe it can help you too.
- Pray and meditate. As you do this, try to clear your mind of distractions. I sometimes visualize wiping all the worries away as if I were smoothing out some sand on the beach.
- Think about other things. What plans to you have for after the race or next week or next month?
- Don’t close yourself off from others. Catch up on what’s happening with family and friends. Visit someone who may be lonely. Volunteer.
- If you are worried about something health or well being related, let others know what is happening so they can help you.
- If you are like me and worrying about a race, remember your training. You’ve put in all the hard work so be confident in your accomplishments thus far.
- Focus on what you can control. I have no control over the weather, but I do have control over how I will respond to it. Each of us has great power over our attitudes.
- Know that you are not alone!
What tips do you have for combatting worry?