You would think that I would be used to it by now. Actually, you would think that since I speak so much on joy, peace and hope that I would always be walking in it. That there would really be nothing that causes me to feel extreme worry. But here we go again.

Every time Che goes away, crazy worry thoughts fill my mind until he returns. He takes a ski trip every 2 years with his friends he has had since grade school – over 35 years! I am so happy he has such solid friendships. I am happy for him to engage in activity that truly fills his tank. Yet I truly dislike when he goes away! Even before he leaves, there is much tension in our home. He is not just leaving for your every day trip to Barrie or Montreal. He leaves most times for somewhere in Europe like the Swiss Alps or somewhere in the US that he drives to like Colorado. This year it was Calgary but he drove and it took 3 days. It is winter. There are a lot of volatile situations happening in our country. He is gone for a long time – almost 3 weeks.

Prayer lifts our attention. Gratitude lifts our emotions.

From the moment that he leaves the thoughts of the worse that could happen fill my psyche.
What if he gets seriously injured? How will I get to him? I don’t want to be a widow. I don’t want to be a single mom. I want the boys to grow up with their dad. I want to spend more years making memories. It may seem crazy but this might be the one time I truly struggle with anxious thoughts. What do I do to not only pass the time, but to make the thoughts pass that are causing these emotions? How do I get out of what isn’t serving me well and is trying to steal my joy and my peace? I begin praying more. I start appreciating more. I have a deeper longing.

I pray more for my husband. The Lord uses this time to truly have me cover him in prayer. I pray for his witness. I pray for his safety. I pray for so many things. I pray for both of us to have encounters with God that we wouldn’t have if we were with each other. I pray for this to be a time of bonding between my sons and I. There is so much to pray for! If I was slacking in my responsibility of praying as a wife for my husband, I certainly make up for it in the weeks he is away!

I appreciate growing in independence and doing things without my husband that I didn’t think I could do. I appreciate all the things that my husband does that I may have taken for granted. I appreciate the presence, security, protection and keeping of God more — both for my husband and for us here at home.

I long for more of God. I desire to redeem the time and use it wisely so I actively fight the anxiety so that it doesn’t cripple me. I set goals and make lists working through each one so that I can feel accomplished and proud.

I had an amazing conversation with the “worry expert” Denise Marek who shared her wisdom with me using the acronym C.A.L.M. What I realized was that I was already doing this and was truly practising the right strategies to move me in the right direction from worry to joy. I will share them with you. I am sure that her book “CALM” would be of great help to anyone who needs some more practical steps.

It is what we allow to be accepted as “truth” that either feeds or destroys worry.

C — challenge assumptions
A — act-control what you can and take the steps necessary
L — let go of what you can’t control
M — manage your mind

Challenging my assumptions meant I needed to change “what ifs” to “what is”. For example, what is true is that my husband was safe, was having a great time and so were we at home. There is no point in me worrying about what isn’t happening and may never happen.

The action that I was doing and needed to continue doing was praying about my anxiety and also giving thanks. “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests on to God…” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Prayer lifts our attention. Gratitude lifts our emotions.

Letting go — of worry, of anxiety and stress and of all I can’t control becomes easier and when repeated daily, natural. If something did happen to my husband, I would just have to deal with it and knowing that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Managing my mind becomes a much easier task when it is directed to optimism and what is positive. My thinking about all the bad things that could happen were not useful to me. Staying in the present and noticing what is actually happening grounds me and my mind.

It takes work to worry. It also takes work to become and remain calm. I choose to work at calmness. It produces better results. I may never get used to my hubby’s trips even though they are never a surprise. I instead will work at getting used to finding my CALM.

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