Coping with Tilt-a-Whirl Worry

I come from a long line of worriers.

Worry, it's a family trait passed down the female line. Mother to daughter.

It's really an art form in our family. The way we worry, the things we worry about, the worry we worry over things probably unworthy of worry.

My friend Ryan once said of his mother, "My mother dabbles in worry the way Picasso 'dabbled' in paint."

Yes, that's an apt description. I dabble in worry the way Picasso "dabbled" in paint.

I have to pay careful attention to the worry wheel.

When it starts spinning, I need to take notice and slow the spin before it starts spinning out of control, tilt-a-whirl style. I need to step back and recenter myself. I need to get back to my faded orange chair and the early morning gray. I need to find the me God created me to be.

I know God knows this. I know he knows how the tilt-a-whirl worry invades my mind and distracts me from that which is good and holy. I like to think it is a part of the reason why he's blessed me with the spiritual gift of faith. Why I can believe in impossible things and walk straight into the impossible without flinching. Why I can shut off my brain's encoding and make the impossible leap of faith. Because of the Spirit at work in me to do the very thing that is completely against my nature. The very thing that points back to the evidence of God in my life.

When the tilt-a-whirl starts spinning, I know I have to pay attention. The worry is telling me, reminding me, to get back to faith, to get back to Jesus. I've stopped walking in faith and I need to re-fix my gaze on the author and perfecter of that faith.


To be honest, I use many home remedies to deal with my worry before going to the great physician. Each packs down the worry for a while. They shove the worry deep inside me so that the tilt-a-whirl slows for a while. But they're never the cure all I want them to be.

The fast-paced, vomit-inducing spin slows, but still keeps spinning. There's no getting off the ride. And once the remedy runs its course--once I turn off the Dr. Who marathon, once I set aside the comfort food, once I put down my laptop, once I slow my brain just long enough and stop medicating the tilt-a-whirl starts furiously spinning again.

It's only stepping outside of me. It's only returning and re-fixing my eyes. It's only getting on my knees and offering up every worry as sacrifice. It's only remembering the me God created me to be that stops the tilt-a-whirl.


I've been riding the tilt-a-whirl for the last week, maybe for a lot longer, but I'm starting to notice the effects of ineffective remedies. I'm noticing the disquietude in my spirit which is crying out, get back to the faded orange chair and the early morning gray. Get back to rest and Sabbath. Get back to the Jesus you love and the Jesus who knows you so well. Stop trying to stop the tilt-a-whirl your own way and allow the God who designed you to bring it to a halt.

Every leap of faith I've ever made. Every impossible thing I've ever believed. Those were not from me, but from the God who made me. And it's him alone who can teach me not to dabble in worry but to persist in faith--faith in him and all he says he is and all he says he will do.