According to Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,” my love language is “words of affirmation.”
But sometimes I wonder if it isn’t “worry” instead.
You know, as in, “I show love for others by worrying about them.”
After all, I worry the most about the people I love the most.
I worry more for them than they do for themselves. If they aren’t going to worry about themselves, then I’ll do it. If nobody else is going to worry about them, well then, golly, I will. When they see how hard I worry, then they’ll know how much I really love them.
Satan knows that this sneaky trick works on me. He takes something perfectly beautiful and healthy (like love) and confuses it. Instead of expressing love in a good way, I’m channeling all that love into something destructive and unproductive: Worry.
I love my husband. He’s driving on icy mountain roads in the dark.
Time to worry!!!! Call him every hour. OK, every 10 minutes. Cry when he gets home and tell him never to do that to me again.
I love my son. He’s having a nasty allergic reaction to his 4-year-old vaccines.
Worry, worry, worry! Ask him how he’s feeling every five seconds. Cry about it. Over-medicate his symptoms. Or, no, I’ll under-medicate them instead. Call my friend who is a nurse and spend one hour on the phone overreacting about it to her.
I disagreed with a friend, and now there’s awkwardness.
Stress about it!!!!! I should avoid the subject. Yeah, just drop it. Or, no, I’ll bring it up every time we talk and ask, “Are we OK? Really, are we fine?” until my friend gets mad at me.
I have actually been confronted with all three of these scenarios. The worry-filled reactions are exaggerated (thankfully!) but there is a kernel of truth to each of them. My love spills over into worry more easily than I’d like to admit.
What can I do for my loved ones instead of worrying for them? How can I help?
Turn my worries into prayers.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)
(It’s sad how often I have to remind myself to do this simple thing!)
If it’s important enough to worry about, then it’s important enough to pray about, right?
What a better use of my time! Praying instead of stressing! Presenting these needs to the Lord vs. annoying my loved ones and making a nuisance of myself.
I can still put forth all of that love-fueled effort. But instead of funneling it into anxiety, I funnel it into specific, serious prayer. (Something effectual! James 5:16)
Here’s something that no one ever said:
“I’m going through a hard time. Can you please worry for me? I know that if you worry for me, God will move His hand. I know that the more people who are worrying about this, the more peace I’ll feel. If we all worry together with heart and soul, then God will really be pleased with that.”
When I feel myself slipping down the worry slide, instead of falling into a black hole of anxiety, I want to fall onto my knees.
Fear won’t change a thing. But faith can!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.