Saturday: Hourglass worrying

Read today's article. Then, scroll down to find prompts for reflection.


Hourglass worrying

When you allow your worries about the people, places, and events in your life to flood your mind, there is no room for anything else. Certainly, there is no room for God.

Sometimes a little focused worrying is not a bad thing! If you must worry—and at this point, the habit is probably still very strong—narrow your worry parameters by thinking about an hourglass. An hourglass contains many grains of sand. These grains represent all your worries. In an hourglass only one grain slips through at a time. In other words, limit yourself to worrying about only one thing on your fret list.

This approach lets you examine each singular worry, consider it from all angles, think about its impact on your life, see its history and place in your life, and then give it to God. You might find yourself taking it back again, but that’s all right. As long as you continue to deal with just one worry at a time, no matter how big or small, you’re not overwhelming yourself with a huge catalogue of worries.

Each time you give the worry to God, you will find it a little easier to leave it in God’s hands. If you take the worry back, its strength will have diminished. Its impact on you will have lessened. After being in God’s hands for however brief a time, it won’t hold the same looming presence in your life. You’ll come to realize that this particular grain of sand isn’t nearly as important as you once thought it was. The moment will come when you will finally let the worry go, and it will stay with God. The newly empty space once filled with worry will instead be filled with a sense of God’s presence and care. Use hour glass worrying for all of your concerns. Ruthlessly compel your mind to deal with only one worry at a time. If you begin to pile up worries again, bring the image of the hourglass back into your mind. You may have to do this many times during the day, but you’ll be surprised at how soon your mind accepts your new way of worrying—one grain at a time.

Listen to the audio readings of scripture for any of the sections below by clicking the arrow on the audio player.

Reflection: Read or listen to Psalm 32

It would be so much easier to pretend that your worry habit isn't a real problem in your life. Facing it head-on as you have in the past few days probably has been painful for you. But as the psalmist says, "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away" (Ps. 32:3). Verses 8 and 9 contain God's reply. Read it as if God were speaking directly to you.

Prayer: Read or listen to Psalm 32:8-10

Thank you, Lord, for being with me in this journey toward freedom from worry. Thank you for forgiving me when I turn away from you in order to worry. Thank you for teaching me how to come to you with my concerns. Thank you that I'm slowly beginning to feel that my worrying is...

(Take this space to record the progress you've made in understanding your worry)

Thank you for staying beside me, for upholding me, and for guiding me. Amen.

Mindfulness: Read or listen to Psalm 32:5

Substitute the word worry for the words sin, iniquity, and transgressions in this verse, and you have a template for hourglass worrying. Acknowledge each worry as it slips through the hourglass. Confess it openly to God, and let it go.

Complete and Continue