My brain loves to wake me up a little after 3 a.m. It is its favorite time to bring up everything I should worry about. So I do just that.
I used to toss and turn as I tried desperately to go back to sleep. I couldn’t seem to turn off my thoughts until one night I got out of bed, opened up a new journal I had just received, and started writing down everything I worried about. I quickly filled up the first page. Then I sat back and looked at the page full of all my worries. I said out loud, “Jesus, I need you to take a look at this page, I can’t do this on my own.” I remember taking a deep breath and exhaling. It felt like a sigh of relief. I felt lighter. And then I simply shut the journal and crawled back into bed.
A week later I woke up again in the middle of the night, so I went straight to my journal. As I read over last week’s worries, I realized most were still there, but one big one was gone. The issue I was worried about most was no longer. So I grabbed a yellow highlighter and brushed it over the desperate sentence. This time I said out loud, “Thank you, Lord, for paying attention to this page and to me.” I jotted down one new worry and went back to bed.
This is my new worry routine. I can’t keep them up in my head to run free like wild toddlers at the playground. I have to put them in their place, in the red journal, where God and I can meet to wrestle with them. Some have stayed in the journal forever and haven’t been highlighted, but many, many are brushed over with my yellow highlighter as I whisper, “Thank you again” to a God that I’ve found cares about my worries.
I will never tell you to stop worrying because for me, that’s proven to be impossible. Instead, I suggest you find a place to put your worries. A place where you and God can meet together to overcome them, face them, and become thankful for them.
The NIV Bible phrases Philippians 4:6-7 this way: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
For me, the way I present my requests to God is through that old red journal on my shelf. The ink dries and the thanksgiving continues. The peace of God is so much louder than my 3 a.m. worries. I try desperately to guard my heart, my mind, and my sleep with that red journal.
Where can you put your worries? What are you worried about today that you could thank God for tomorrow?