Ding! The gloves are off! I’m twelve days into Lent and the worry habit is not going away without a fight.
I knew breaking this habit would be hard. I looked at the challenge like giving up Milly time for prayer during Lent to train myself to pray daily (It worked). But this change is different. It is an epic battle for the way I think. The way I talk to God. Methinks the devil doesn’t like this one bit. Here’s the battle:
Think of the image of Angels on your shoulder. Angel Milly on the right and Devil Milly on the left. Angel Milly perches herself peaceful and pretty on my shoulder as she whispers God thoughts as soft as a sea breeze in my ear. Do I listen? I would like to say, YES! With big exclamation points. Sadly I do not. I have to strain and focus to hear the tiny gentle voice. Then I have to choose the path suggested. There are two reasons I don’t listen to voice drawing me closer to my God. One is my doubts. The second is…Devil Milly.
Devil Milly is a tiny tornado of rapid fire thoughts that shoot in my ear and ricochet around my brain. What if this happens or that? What if you fail? You look like a fool…On and on she goes loud and relentless. My little devil is destructive and demeaning. Devil Milly is my rebellious, insecure side. This is the side of me that believes worry will change the future. She wields worry like a sword. Why do I listen? I find it hard to shut out the clamoring noise. The secular world surrounds me and it is worried too. The physical world overwhelms my senses making it hard to see the spiritual truth.
Looking back I find this habit began about forty years ago, give or take a few years. It became a big part of me. I didn’t notice the worrisome thoughts and how stressed my spirit was by worry. This past week started with a bad night. On Sunday, I had a hurtful conversation with my dad. By the time I got to bed I was exhausted and hurt. I woke up every couple of hours during the night.
I think Devil Milly was poking me with that sword of hers because, when my alarm went off worries crowded my first thoughts. I had a field day planned and a presentation at a meeting along with the usual workload for the week. The bad night of sleep also meant I’d be starting the week in pain.
By the time I get to work I’m running scenarios through my head, my first sign of worry. Due to misinformation, an incident got blown out of proportion and by Tuesday I was off and running. Round 1 goes to Devil Milly!
By Wednesday, I couldn’t even take the news. I poked the car radio off on my morning drive. Despite my pounding head, I heard Angel Milly’s quiet voice, “you need to pray.” I started with a rosary as I drove thinking what I needed to put in God’s hands. Round 2 goes to Angel Milly!
The rest of the week is a blur. I focused on listening to God and taking it one day at time to get through my tasks. I was still bombarded with things to worry about: Safety, job stuff, making plans, can I complete those plans, our futures, the princes and princesses, my health, dad’s health, complaining and fears, and a bunch of little stuff I don’t even remember now.
All week I went back and forth between worry and focusing on God. On Friday morning on the way into work, the radio was still off, I barked out a laugh. I had been thinking about my commitment to stopping the worry habit. I was worrying about worry! Now there’s some irony for me! I thought about calling the battle this week a draw but, no…
Devil Milly threw everything at me this week. What did I learn? I’m still stumbling on the trail I’m blazing. I did turn to God more than before. Focusing on the present then, using prayer to stop my sharp little voice, stopped my worrying. I don’t think this week will be easier. I will be better prepared. I need to go slowly thinking before reacting and keeping an ear tuned to Angel Milly.
I’ve pulled out my armor from the back of the closet, dusted it off and will be using it from now on. My mom says to pray Ephesians 6:13-18 [NKJV] every morning. I admit I only do this when I am in need of spiritual assistance. You think I’d listen right? Well not so much. Writing this I find I need to incorporate the habit of praying this scripture daily:
“13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…”
Devil Milly and the worry habit did not defeat me this week. I may have lost some skirmishes. I picked myself up and continued to shove the worry habit out of my life. No longer denying the battle is a WIN! I will keep you posted on my progress. I pray you continue your spiritual commitment. If you stopped, pick up and continue the journey. The journey doesn’t have to be perfect. God loves you just the way you are. Keep up the good work.
Peace my friends,