In Others’ Words: Worry … or Not

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~Erma Bombeck, American writer & humorist

So … I worried some this past weekend.

To be honest, I went several rounds with worry. And while I wouldn’t say worry won, there were times that worry backed me into a corner.

I kept reminding myself of this quote. Reminding myself that worry didn’t accomplish anything. I was wasting precious time and energy worrying.

Yeah, yeah. I knew all that. And still I went round and round and round with the “what ifs” and the “why nots” and the “oh nos” and the “woe is mes.”

During one of my bouts of worry, I finally said, “Enough!” I sat myself down on the couch and grabbed my sketch pad and my big box of markers and Sharpies and pens and I prayed.*

You read that right: I put pen to paper and prayed. Because besides hearing the ol’ “worrying is like rocking in a rocking chair” analogy, I’ve also heard that you can choose to do one of two things: worry or pray. But you can’t do both at the same time.

True, that.

In Your Words: Does worry ever back you into a corner? What do you do to conquer worry — to send it back to its corner?

*Curious about praying using pen and paper (and Sharpies and markers?) Check out Praying in Color.

Photo by emailrober/
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  1. November 14, 2011, 3:30 am   /  Reply

    Love this, Beth…, the Erma Bombeck quote and “Praying in Color.”

    Worry and fear (worry’s co-villain) can be such life-stealers. Paralyzing. Prayer and reading God’s Word to remind me of what is true are the most effective weapons to do away with both of them.

  2. November 14, 2011, 5:20 am   /  Reply

    I remember driving home from someplace a while back and thinking that I really didn’t do a lot of worrying. Well, satan had a field day with that because Hubby lost his job. For the past two years, worry has become my middle name, followed by his cousin anxiety. I tried not to worry. I said I put things in God’s hands, but lip service didn’t match my heart. Finally I told God I couldn’t take it. I prayed and asked for hope and relief. Now I still have moments of worry, but God provides affirmation that He has things under control.

    LOVE the praying in color!! I’m going to do that!

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 7:33 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for sharing. I think many of us wrestle with the not-worrying-oh-yes-I-am struggle. Sometimes you just have to get out of the rocking chair and walk away! Really, though, you have to set your mind on something else.

  3. November 14, 2011, 6:43 am   /  Reply

    Excellent. I really appreciate this–great content!

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 7:31 am   /  Reply

      Good morning, Dee. Thanks for the encouraging words on a Monday!

  4. November 14, 2011, 7:26 am   /  Reply

    I have a family situation that likes to get me worrying and I have to be mindful to not go there. Today my knee looks like a balloon tucked inside of it. Could worry, but I think it’s rather funny. Maybe I’m simply worried about the wrong things. 😉
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 7:39 am   /  Reply

      It’s often family situations that are the most worrisome, isn’t it, Wendy? Now that knee-thing … I guess humor is the best approach. That and a visit to the doctor!

  5. Jeanne T
    November 14, 2011, 7:32 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Beth. I’m learning to turn more quickly to prayer when I’m worried. I also find myself journaling out my prayers. Somehow, God’s words for me bypass something and go from Him to my journal page. I usually feel much better after I’ve journaled my worries with the Lord. Remembering truths from God’s word also bring great peace. Especially Philippians 4:6-8, which says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all [fn]comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

    Thankfulness also helps when I’m worried, and really focusing on where my thoughts should be. Okay, I’ve rambled enough. 🙂 Thanks for a grea post, Beth.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 7:40 am   /  Reply

      If this was rambling, you’re good at it, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing such good thoughts. 🙂

  6. November 14, 2011, 8:19 am   /  Reply

    Awesome post, Beth.

    I was in Wichita over the weekend and went to my sis and bro-in-law’s church. The sermon was on practicing…and the pastor talked about how we need to practice the things we want to have in our life: peace, trust, joy, etc. We reap what we practice, basically. But he said instead we often practice worry, anxiety, dread, negativity…and then we wonder why we don’t have peace, trust, joy, etc., in our lives. Wow, did I need to hear that. And your post backed it up.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 10:25 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for sharing those insights, Melissa. I needed to hear those too!

  7. November 14, 2011, 8:40 am   /  Reply

    I’m a worrywart by nature. To counteract this, I write in a prayer journal almost every day. That way, I can get the worry out of my head and onto paper–and it sometimes (sometimes) doesn’t look quite so scary. Other times, there’s nothing to do but fall on my knees and beg God to help me quite worrying.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 10:25 am   /  Reply

      I think every day comes with it’s own set of worries … and some days I carry worries over from the previous day. So, there’s the choice again: Worry or pray? It’s always a choice. Always.

  8. Loree Huebner
    November 14, 2011, 8:50 am   /  Reply

    Whenever I worry, I find it best to sit down and do something. Although I’ve never done it, the praying in color sounds like a perfect example. I may try it next time a worry fit comes along.

  9. November 14, 2011, 8:59 am   /  Reply

    I’m a charter member of Worry Warts Anonymous. I wish I didn’t worry, but fears and doubts eat at me far too often. I’m grateful I can run to the Lord with my concerns and that I have a husband who helps me see the bright side of life.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 10:23 am   /  Reply

      It always helps to share fears and worries with someone else. And when I pray in color, I’m sharing my worries with the best Someone else! 🙂

  10. Megan DiMaria
    November 14, 2011, 9:42 am   /  Reply

    Great post, Beth. I always struggle to overcome worry. I can’t seem to conquer it, but at least I keep trying.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 10:22 am   /  Reply

      That’s exactly where I am: trying. And trying again. And repeat.

  11. November 14, 2011, 11:01 am   /  Reply

    Worry is definitely a beast to conquer. I liked the quote you used. I’m not usually a worrier. When I do allow myself to start down that path, God is quick to bring back the verse’s to remind me how trivial and pointless it really is. Matthew 6:27 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 11:43 am   /  Reply

      Another excellent insight to stop worry in its tracks, Sonya!

  12. November 14, 2011, 1:23 pm   /  Reply

    I struggle with worry – a trait I picked up from my mother and don’t want to have. As a twin, I jokingly say I tell my twin and then I don’t have to worry about it. I tell her and let it go. I love the link on praying in color – watched the video. Will have to try this.

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 1:44 pm   /  Reply

      Hhhmm … I’m a twin too. Never thought about sharing my worry with my twin so I didn’t have to. 😉

  13. November 14, 2011, 1:49 pm   /  Reply

    I love that Bombeck quote, Beth. Wonderful stuff! I’m somewhat of a worrier, but I wouldn’t say overly so. (Watch, now God’s gonna blast me with lots of things to show me how bad of a worrier I am, lol.) I have some worries about my kids’ safety from time to time, but truthfully I don’t think they consume me. I love what you said about worrying and praying not going together. So wise!

    • Beth Vogt
      November 14, 2011, 4:22 pm   /  Reply

      As I’ve gotten older, I would say I’m less of a worrrier. And then there are times worry ambushes me. Someone once told me the truth of not being able to worry and pray at the same time. It’s stuck with me!

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