Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Worry Can’t Change Others


 Kathy Collard Miller

There’s something deep inside of us that believes worry can change others. If someone we love has a different perspective than we do, we worry. If someone we love has a different belief about God, we worry. If someone we love has a character flaw, we worry. We just know their wrong thinking will mess up their lives.

Some of these worries may truly seem “worthy” of worry. Your mother may not know Christ as her Savior, and she has cancer. Your son may be on the street taking drugs. Your friend may demonstrate a lack of integrity at work. Another friend drives while intoxicated. You may have tried to reason, cajole, quote Scripture, even manipulate each person into changing their ideas and their behavior, but nothing has worked—not even prayer. God hasn’t changed them either. You fear something bad, really bad, is going to happen.

Even if it’s not a matter of something really bad occurring, we can easily take responsibility for someone else’s happiness and then respond in an unhealthy way. I recognized that possibility as we walked through the grief process with my mother-in-law, Audrey.

My husband's parents, Don and Audrey, were married for sixty-two years and in that time, Audrey was only alone overnight for fewer than twenty nights—total. Even when Don was away during two different wars, Audrey’s mother lived with her. Four or five months before Don passed away, Audrey remarked to me, “If something happens to Don, I don’t know if I can live alone.” Then about a month later she commented, “I’ve been thinking about living alone and I think I can do it.” I was so proud of her.

The first night of Don’s hospitalization, Audrey stayed in our home. The next day she surprised us with her spunk, saying she wanted to return to her own home. I volunteered to spend the night at her home, but she said, “No, I have to get used to it.” And she did, even after Don died a week later.

But that doesn’t mean I didn't worried about her loneliness. During the first two weeks we made sure she had something to do with us every day. But realizing we couldn’t keep that up for long, I wondered how she would cope.

In my prayer time I prayed verses for Audrey dealing with the topic of loneliness. I began praying Psalm 146:9 for her: “The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow; But He thwarts the way of the wicked” (NASB). Unexpectedly, I thought, I shouldn’t try to fill the place the Lord wants in her life.

Wow—that hit me hard. In my worry about her loneliness, I had begun to feel responsible to make sure she wasn’t lonely. I wrote in my journal: “I can try to be there too much and she could depend upon me and/or Larry instead of looking to You, Lord. Help me, Father, to resist the compulsion to ‘be there’ for her too much.”

When I told Larry about what the Lord had revealed to me, I jokingly (but with some seriousness) quipped, “God doesn’t want me to be your mom’s grief savior.” If I had continued to worry about her, I could have easily become that. And I’d be good at it because I so easily take responsibility for the happiness of others.

When I talked to Audrey later that day, she enthusiastically said, “Guess what Chuck Swindoll talked about on his radio program today?”

What, Mom Audrey?”

Loneliness. It really ministered to me.”

I laughed. God had come through. I didn’t need to be in charge of making sure she wasn’t lonely. Of course, she’s going to be lonely—she’s alone for the first time in her life. We certainly are going to help her, but she should primarily look to God, not us. Otherwise, she’ll draw too close to us and not closer to God.


BOOK SUMMARY AND BIOGRAPHY:

It is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you're facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers a conversational style, personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God's hand in her life.

Kathy Collard Miller is a speaker and author. Her passion is to inspire women to trust God more. She has spoken in 30 states and 7 foreign countries. Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson) and she blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.blogspot.com. Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 43 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats.

(Note from Mary: Please leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of Kathy's book. We will draw a name in one week!)


10 comments:

Kathy Carlton Willis Communications said...

I'd love to win this book by Kathy! She's one of God's shining stars! Thanks for sharing about the book, Mary.

Anita said...

I have loved reading the first few chapters of Kathy's book and looking forward to reading ths rest. I love how God understands the things that can tempt us to worry, and gives us the tools to share those worries with Him.

Mary Englund Murphy said...

If you have a hard time leaving a comment just let me know on Face Book and I will put your name into the drawing. Thanks!

Kathy Collard Miller said...

Kathy & Anita, thanks for your support by commenting here. You are both special friends. And Mary: thanks again for featuring my new book baby!

pattie ivey said...

This could not have come at a better time. Trying to move on with my own life yet letting the worry of my doing so affect me as I leave those closest to me worrying how they will get along. I need this and thank you for the opportunity to be able to win a copy. Thank you.

pattie ivey said...

This could not have come at a better time. Trying to move on with my own life yet letting the worry of my doing so affect me as I leave those closest to me worrying how they will get along. I need this and thank you for the opportunity to be able to win a copy. Thank you.

Rachel Beran said...

Would love to win a copy of this book. Who doesn't struggle with worry sometimes? Looks like a practical and helpful resource.

Kathy Collard Miller said...

Pattie & Rachel: So glad you're interested in the book. Yes, Pattie, it is hard to release control. And Rachel: you are right! Everyone worries at some point to some degree! Thanks for commenting here!

Mary Englund Murphy said...

Some people tried to leave a comment and were not able to do so. They left a comment on Face Book and I included them in the drawing. The winner of the free book is Dena! Thanks Everyone!

Kathy Collard Miller said...

Congratulations, Dena! I trust you'll find my book meaningful.