Siamese Twins and Shields

No, not Siamese Cats with Shields

I had trouble thinking of a Sunday spiritual post; mostly because my mind is cluttered with other things this week.  I made some distracted prayers for guidance, in between my prayers for others that were suffering this week, but nothing surfaced for the first few days.

Each day, I read and comment on several blogs.  On Wednesday, I read Hilary Clark’s post about worrying.  I am a worrier, so I could relate.  On Thursday, a funny post by Amanda Hoving about stress dreams prompted me to share my waitressing nightmare.  And then on Friday, I read a few pages in my Life’s Simple Guide to God book.  The topics?  “Let Go of Worry” and “Get Serious About Laughter.”

I could be mistaken, but I felt the guidance I prayed for led me here.  I’ve found that worry and stress are like Siamese twins, in that when one finds me, the other is just an arm’s length away.  Laughter acts as a shield, preventing stress and worry from overwhelming me.  Unfortunately for me, three’s a crowd, and laughter doesn’t generally hang around with stress and worry, without special invitation.

My worry has no limits – it ranges from the tiniest details to the state of the world.  In a given week, I can worry about forgetting to do something I have committed to do; whether something I said could have been interpreted as hurtful; I worry about the deterioration of social skills, and society in general; corruption in our government; the state of the Middle East and whether hatred will destroy us all.  See?  You name it; I worry about it at some point. 

Stress is a bit sneakier.  It’s like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, gaining in size and speed throughout the day.  The kids are slow getting ready, so I leave fifteen minutes late; already late, there’s an accident on the freeway; it’s time for a meeting and my notes have gone missing; a project document encounters an error and closes without saving my changes;  well, you get the idea.

The guide retold the story of how Jesus fed more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish (and had leftovers.)  I’ve always liked this story because it illustrates how things can work out even when they seem impossible.  Instead of worrying, the disciples let Jesus handle the situation.  Life’s Simple Guide to God offered the reminder that our needs are never more than God can handle.  We just have to recognize our needs versus wants, and trust, even in uncertain times, that He will not fail to provide.

Even knowing this, sometimes stress and worry affect me like the weariness before a cold and not even copious amounts of dark chocolate improve my spirits.  I know I should accept that worrying is not productive.  Easier said than done.  I read some verses in the Bible about worry that I enjoyed:

Matthew 6:25-27

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 much more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

It’s true that worrying doesn’t change what will be.  Since I can’t stop it, I fight it with laughter.

The guide suggests that God wants us to laugh and that joyous outbursts are pleasing to Him.  I loved this quote from the book:  “Don’t take life so seriously.  Be willing to laugh at yourself, laugh with others, and laugh with God.”  It’s hard to stay worried or stressed when laughter surrounds us.

Now’s a good time to laugh with me …or at me, if you must!

Have you drooled on a good book lately?

How do you ease your own worry or stress?

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26 thoughts on “Siamese Twins and Shields

  1. Aligaeta May 15, 2011 / 6:33 AM

    I relieve my worries and stress in my vegetable garden. “God helps those who help themselves.” We will eat and hopefully I sell a good deal of produce to replenish the rainy day fund.

    Surely I worry when I read prospects of the job crisis not recovering until 2014. Yet I have to have faith that everything will work out. I continue to look for work and I am open to new possibilities. In fact, I applied for a position in research, although educated with experience to work within the specific demographic, in this area this would be a new field for me. Being flexible opens possibilities. God has a plan for me.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 9:22 PM

      The garden sounds therapeutic for you – especially right now. It is discouraging to think that your situation could last a couple more years, but flexibility can’t hurt. Yes. God does have a plan…even if we can’t figure it out as it happens.

      I hope your garden continues to thrive, Aligaeta.

  2. 1959duke May 15, 2011 / 9:28 AM

    You are so right. My pastor talked about this very subject this morning. We all worry and it does nothing to help. Its like project ( not the movie kind) things never turn out the way we think it is going to.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 9:24 PM

      Worry is a hard thing to let go. I agree that things often don’t turn out as we expect. Keeps things interesting, Duke.

  3. crumbl May 15, 2011 / 9:53 AM

    “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened!” LRHG stresses, or maybe frets is a better word. I have more the Linus van Pelt philosophy … blanket over my head, thumb in my mouth, “There is no problem so big it can’t be ignored until it just goes away.” I agree about laughter, JT. I might as well laugh along … life’s too short to take too seriously.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 9:59 PM

      Linus knew how to roll with life, didn’t he? In my mind, I know that’s the way to go, but it seems for me, worry is as irresistable as dark chocolate. I’m working freeing myself from both 🙂

      I hope you can get LRHG to come around to your Linus way of thinking, Crumbl!

  4. Carol Ann Hoel May 15, 2011 / 2:11 PM

    I love the laughter concept. I know I shouldn’t worry, and when I find myself consumed about something, I’ll go to the Lord and say something like this:

    Lord, I know that worrying insults you, but I’m worried.

    I imagine the Lord saying back to me this:

    Carol Ann, if you think you’re going to stress me out about it, you’re wrong. I don’t get stressed. I’m God.

    Then I laugh. Stress level goes down. I snuggle up to the LORD, who isn’t stressed, and thank Him and praise Him for handling it all for me. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 10:03 PM

      If God responded like that, it would be funny, Carol. He must get tired of all of us worrying so much.

      I’m glad you’ve found a way to laugh and wipe away worry. It can be a constant struggle, but we’ll get better… (right?) I hope so!

      • Carol Ann Hoel May 16, 2011 / 11:00 AM

        Right. We do get better as we find that God takes care of us. Experience paves the way for trusting more.

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 10:07 PM

      Nice quote, Nancy. I hadn’t heard that one before, but it’s true. I’ll keep laughing so my soul stays squeaky-clean 😉

  5. Blossom Dreams May 15, 2011 / 2:24 PM

    Laughter is a great cure to stress and worry; it can lighten the load incredibly and, apparently, we use a lot less facial muscles when we smile than when we frown. I’d so much prefer to have laughter lines than frown lines 😀

    I wrote a similar post today about how happiness is the opposite of depression. Strange how we have both concluded that happiness (or laughter) are such healthy cures!

    How comforting the words in the scripture you quoted are: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – so true. Now the secret is in finding out HOW to stop stressing…

    Chloe xx

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 10:12 PM

      Ha! I agree with you about the preference of laugh lines over frown lines. I haven’t mastered the “How” of ending worry and stress, but I’m getting better at minimizing it.

      I’m glad you found comfort in that line of scripture – that was my favorite sentence, by the way. It is odd that our minds were in the same place on the subject…I’ll be checking out your post on happiness and depression.

      Thanks for your comments, Chloe!

  6. Debbie May 15, 2011 / 4:49 PM

    My grandmother used to say that worry is a sin — it’s basically telling God that you don’t trust Him with your cares and concerns. When I find myself stressing about things, particularly things over which I have no control, I offer a quick prayer and remind myself to “let go and let God.” Wasn’t there a commercial some time ago that said worry is like a rocking chair — it gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere?! So keep laughing!

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 10:19 PM

      I don’t remember the commercial, but the rocking chair saying does hold truth. To take it further, while it gives you something to do, it prevents you from doing something else (that may be more productive.)

      I have to admit, I tend to carry stress and worry until it becomes too much, before I turn to God. Yes, I suspect your grandmother wouldn’t approve 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  7. pattisj May 15, 2011 / 8:34 PM

    I haven’t mastered stress yet, but I’ve decreased the pressure I put on myself. I used to make incredibly crazy-long to-do lists, but not any more. I still need to write out the important things that need to be done on a particular day, because there’s nothing as frustrating as realizing at the last minute that I forgot something. I gave up worry long ago, one morning when that still small voice said, “Trust Me.” Laughing WITH you. 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 15, 2011 / 10:22 PM

      I’m envious of you right now because you are free from worry! I’m a list person, too (it’s sad that my memory doesn’t serve me any better.)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and laughing WITH me, Patti 🙂

    • crumbl May 16, 2011 / 1:56 AM

      The only list I tend to make, Patti, is a grocery list … I search the sale flyers, I menu plan, I type up what I want from which stores (fortunately for me, they’re all near each other), I print it out … and then I leave it behind when I go grocery shopping. Try THAT for frustrating. 🙂 That’s when you do the Homer Simpson “Doh!” slap on the forehead and fake it.

      • pattisj May 16, 2011 / 10:14 AM

        Wow, does that sound familiar. Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one! I feel much better now. 🙂

        • jannatwrites May 16, 2011 / 9:01 PM

          I’ve done that too, Crumbl. If I’m not leaving my grocery lists behind, I’m forgetting my coupons. If I remember to bring the coupons, I often forget to use them. Patti is definitely not alone!

  8. Patty May 16, 2011 / 5:54 AM

    My mother-in-law is visiting right now and we were talking about worrying. The topic came up because her grand-daughter(my niece) and my son have recently graduated from college. They both don’t take care of themselves – you know, folding clothes, taking showers, picking up and organizing their personal stuff. My niece is very thin and has a lot of stomach complaints. My son is very overweight. I think both are signs of poor self esteem. But, as mothers we cannot make it all better. We have done our share of teaching and demonstrating but they have to figure it out for themselves. BUT I had to accept that my son is the way he is. That was the hardest thing I have done. I struggle daily. The good news for my son is he has a job lined up next month. We can only hope he figures it out. My niece has struggled longer being that she is 32 yr old, her mother died 6 years ago and it took her longer to get through college.

    Worrying is an interesting phenomenon. We worry because we know what could happen that our children are not aware of. Been there done that. But then worrying is also exaggeration of our fears. My mother worried irrationally about things she had no knowledge of. She was extremely fearful and in turn made me fearful as well. Maybe instilling a little too much anxiety? Hard to say.

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2011 / 9:07 PM

      It is hard not to pass worry on to our children, after all, they do learn how to behave by watching us (whether they want to or not.) I could see how too much worry can result in general anxiety. I wonder if you son’s and niece’s physical health could also be affected by anxiety. There’s a lot to worry about with just graduating – there’s the responsibility of of paying bills, taking care of their personal needs and finding/retaining jobs.

      I hope your son does well at his job. Your support will certainly help, Patty.

  9. dorcas May 16, 2011 / 10:47 AM

    I’m with you on the worrying part Janna.. I worry about everything to the point where sometimes my hubby has to interfere and remind me that what I worry about hardly concerns me. 🙂 So you can imagine how much I worry about what really concerns me.

    But I’m learning. to let go of things in God’s hands.Though it is kinda difficult, there is a certain peace that overtakes once I commit it. I’m sure you would know what I’m talking about.

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2011 / 9:10 PM

      I do know of the peace you’re talking about, Dorcas. That’s why it’s strange that I carry the worry for so long before letting it go. I guess I just like to make myself miserable 😉

      I’m glad your hubby reminds you not to worry about stuff out of your control.

      I’m glad you stopped by – I didn’t know that you were a worrier, like me.

  10. Amanda Hoving May 16, 2011 / 6:04 PM

    My worry also has no limits, Janna, so I know exactly how you feel. My husband is able to ease my worry for many things concerning the kids. He has 9 siblings and has seen it all.

    Thanks for the mention 🙂

    • jannatwrites May 16, 2011 / 9:14 PM

      Nine siblings??? Wow! I couldn’t imagine. I’m glad he is able to ease your worry. (I’m so messed up, I’d hear all the stories of the “fun” they had and worry about repeats with my own children :))

      I’m glad you stopped by today.

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