1-Name what’s NOT worrying you;
2-Name what IS worrying you;
3-Hand it over and look beyond.
Here’s steps 1 and 2 in a nutshell:
First, start from a place of power and name what you are not worried about (step 1). When we focus on what is working, then we empower ourselves to face all the things we are worried about (step 2). Now we are ready for step three: hand it over and look beyond.A few years ago I tried mountain biking in Moab, Utah. The terrain was unlike any I had experienced with slick red rocks, gullies and dry riverbeds. One thing my instructor kept repeating: “Look beyond the obstacles!” Unfortunately, I kept looking down at the scary gullies and rocks. And as we all know in biking, if you look down, you go down.

It’s the same in life. At some point we have to find the strength to let go of the fear and look up, beyond the worry to the horizon of opportunities right in front of us. It’s like the old saying, “Worry looks around. Faith looks up.”

In any place of fear, we have two choices: worry or believe. You can’t do both. Either you believe in a greater power and have faith, or you don’t. If you don’t, then you keep the burden on yourself.

This is the ultimate act of ego because (and lets be honest here) we aren’t always strong enough to handle it. While I was in Moab, I also did some hiking. Any of you who have been off on a long day’s expedition know the exhausting nature of carrying a heavy backpack.

Thank goodness they put hip straps on backpacks—so you can rest the heaviest load on the strongest part. We should take a little wisdom from those backpacks and rest our heaviest worries on our strongest part—our sense of faith, hope, and a power greater than us.

So, the next time you get caught up in a cycle of worry remember: 1) name what’s not worrying you (what’s working), 2) name what’s worrying you, then 3) hand it over and look beyond. *
*Rev. Susan Sparks is pastor of Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. She is a native of North Carolina. Suzanne and I visited that Church in January, 2020.

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