Illustration by Krieg Barrie

When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you try to think of is what day it is. “It’s Tuesday,” you say to yourself. It means you’re not going to church because it isn’t Sunday, and you don’t have the day off because it isn’t Saturday. It will be the regular Tuesday routine plus the errands on your list. All this cogitation takes place in the space of a moment.

The second thing you think of is what it is that’s bothering you about your life—who hates you these days; what talents you lack; how you have messed up your children’s lives. There is a compulsive need to know—right away—what it is you should be worrying about, so that you can pick up where you left off last night in one uninterrupted stream of worry. “Anxieties all present and accounted for? Good, now I can get on with the day.”

Do not envision a conscious and assiduous worry, but more of a back-burner flickering flame of unpeace whose fuel is a finite set of specific regrets and longings.

There is a feeling of safety in this. If you woke up and didn’t remember what your problems were, you would be uneasy till you did remember. Now you are relieved because you can “manage” them. The boogeyman can’t jump out of the dark at you if you know he’s there. So you are happy. Well, not happy. But this is all you know.

What if it didn’t have to be like this? What if you could choose joy when you woke up every day, regardless of the circumstances?

I ransacked my old photo albums looking for a photo for my neighbor’s funeral. When I came across pictures of myself—in a crowd, at a party, at the beach—I thought, “I know what I was thinking when this picture was taken.” I was worrying. I wasn’t trusting God. I wasn’t “in the moment.” Real life was being consumed on the altar of past and future phantoms.

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SOURCE: WORLD
Andrée Seu Peterson