Sunday, August 18, 2019

I am a False Prophet

Worriers are false prophets.

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.
~ Jesus


Unknown said...

What a beautiful article. I'm a red-faced, fully convicted false prophet. I fear I've spent more time worrying than just letting go and living life! It's only been recently that I have released many fears. I worry now mostly about my health, and about my husband's health, but with less emotional intensity.

At the same time, I feel the protective presence of God near me, in a breathtaking way... I feel that God has more in mind for me than worrying my life away, being wrong 99% of the time.

Thank you for putting all this into words! And what a lovely, lovely family you have! So sweet to see your beautiful children enjoying the water! I'd be there with them, splashing about, if I could!!



elizabeth said...

Thank you. Me too. I write convicted and grateful for this truth you have shared. God bless and keep you!

Tim said...

I, and everyone else have experienced trials sent by God, along with a little loving discipline that is also painful. Sometimes I worry about "What will be the next trial or suffering God brings into my life"? What painful loving discipline will God choose to prune my life with? This is pathetic fear mongering about God.

The opposite is more true for me. I imagine positive things that could happen to me should I choose to take initiative in certain areas. I imagine many details of the process, or other options in the process the 2nd or 3rd time through. But then I realize, none of this is based on reality. It's based on a very presumptive imagination that has no connection to details of reality. I have to confront this thinking frequently and hold it captive.

The worst part about this use of my mind for imagination time, is I give less determinative thinking to what really is taking place, and God's instruction to "pray without ceasing".