Worriers are false prophets.
Edward Welch, Running Scared: Fear, Worry and the God of Rest
I am a false prophet. I am constantly predicting things that don't come true.
I think about my husband dying and how I would possibly be able to raise these children by myself. I think about my children's choices and imagine them on the street or behind bars or in my basement (supposing I have a basement). I think about waking up to my house on fire. I think about the economy failing. The government failing. The airplane failing. Myself failing.
I wake up in the middle of the night and think about how miserable I'll feel the next day if I don't get back to sleep. I think about about whether I will make the wrong decision, about whether I already did make the wrong decision, about whether I said the wrong thing or wrote the wrong thing or offended him or hurt her.
Contemplating these things isn't necessarily a bad thing, if all I was doing was contemplating. A wise person thinks ahead, after all, and some introspection is good for the soul.
But I don't just think about these things. I feel the emotion as if they are definitely going to happen, or are already happening. My mind and body react as if the terrible thing I imagine has already come true.
How many false predictions have I made to myself over my lifetime? Millions? Billions? How much adrenaline has been unnecessarily let loose in my body? How many hours of sleep have I lost just by worrying about how many hours of sleep I might lose? How much ibuprofen have I taken for headaches caused by catastrophic situations that never materialized?
I'm wrong 99% of the time, and yet pathetically, I still continue to make predictions. I play the lottery with my worries. Sure, it didn't happen the last 5000 times, but it just might this time. I'm like the foolish person who shells out $3.99 a minute to have a psychic give another wrong glimpse into the future, just in case this time it's right.
And what about that one percent? Those very, very few times when the worst does happen, what then?
Elyse Fitzpatrick wrote, "You know, the problem with fears that exist only in our imagination is that, since they aren't real, we must face them alone. God's grace isn't available to help us overcome imaginary problems that reside only in our mind. He will help us to put these imagined fears to death, but it's only in the real world that His power is effective to uphold us in trouble. It's only when He calls us to go through difficult times that His power is present to protect, comfort, and strengthen us." (Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety)
Oh yeah. There's that.
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Your heavenly Father knows [what you need]. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.