When Caring Turns Into Worrying

when caring turns into worrying feast of st. monica

I woke up in a sweat. Once again I was dreaming about a particular situation that was causing grief and turmoil in my life and for others around me.

As I lay there I wondered, why did I care so much? The people I was dreaming about were grown adults. They could make decisions for themselves. I could not change their actions or thoughts. I could not control them. Yet my heart ached for just that. I wanted to take hold of them and “knock some sense into them.” Let them know how much I cared. How much I was willing to work to make their path clearer and smoother for them. But I was not them.

Handing Over My Desire to Control

Once again, I needed to remind myself that I could not control them, their choices, or their situation.

So I prayed. “Please Lord, help them. Help me to speak up if needed and give me the right words. Otherwise, help me to just love them and be there for them. Give me peace and them as well.”

It always takes me a while to get back to sleep after an abrupt waking. But it helps to pray. If, after a short prayer, I am still restless, I usually start praying the Rosary. Something about the monotonous way of saying the Hail Marys helps my heart become peace-filled.

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St. Monica Put God in Control

When I think about the many things in my life that I can worry about, I am brought back to St. Monica. I think of her diligent act of praying for her husband, mother-in-law, and son. What a woman of faith! She was faced with many hardships. Yet she never lost faith that the Lord would take care of her and the ones she loved.

I think about how she must have felt disheartened seeing the people she loved disregard God’s laws. How she must have worried, as any person who cares does. Yet she took those worries and brought them to the only One who could sustain her and give her peace… God Almighty.

Believing that we have the Saints in Heaven praying for us, I ask for St. Monica’s intercession often. Along with other Saints, I ask her to pray for me and the different situations I encounter. Especially the ones that involve caring for people so much that it hurts. The situations that make my mind spin with stress. When I unconsciously dream about these situations and can’t stop thinking about them, that is when I need to turn to the Lord in prayer. From past experiences, if I don’t do this I become obsessed and this is unhealthy. Turning to our Lord is one way to help ease this worry.

Seeking Safe Listening Ears

Another way I have found peace is by talking with other trustworthy people who will not judge me or the other people in the situation. These people have included my parents, family members, my spouse, friends, and spiritual directors. They listen and give wise advice if I ask.

These people allow me to be myself. To openly and honestly discuss what is happening. It helps to have people like this in my life. Ones who can help me work through my thought process and guide my heart. I know the Lord has placed these people in my life for a reason. They are the ones who make sense of a situation for me when I cannot make sense of it for myself. They help me sort through my thoughts and support me. I have found this extremely helpful because there are times when I have become too emotionally attached to a particular situation and need an outside perspective.

We Pray. Let Christ Act.

It is hard for me to not worry. I’m prone to this since I do want the best for people and care for them wholeheartedly. I have always been a person to wear my heart on my sleeve and know that this causes more trouble for me at times. Yet I would not have it any other way. Giving my whole-self to others is who I am.

When I get into worrying too much, the Lord seems to gently remind me that He will take care of me and all of His children. It may not look how I want it to look, but He never leaves those that I care about. He puts people in their lives to help them, and I’m in their life for a reason too. Even if all I’m supposed to do is pray for them or be an example of Christ’s love to them. All I can do is be open to the Holy Spirit and if I’m prompted to take action, then that is what I need to do. Otherwise, I need to pray. Pray for them, pray for our world. Everyone of us needs help.

Remember St. Monica

Will there be more brain-spins in the middle of the night or days filled with my thoughts being consumed about a particular situation? Yes. Yes there will. I’m human and the Lord has given me a heart to care for others. He has given us all the capacity to love freely and care deeply. What matters is what we do with this powerful gift of caring so much. May we all work through times of worry and fall back into the open arms of our Lord. St. Monica, pray for us.

Are you someone who worries about others to an extreme? How do you turn it over to Christ?

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Ann Marshal is a licensed elementary teacher who is currently a stay-at-home mom. She teaches the Billings Ovulation Method (NFP) her free time. Being with her husband, four boys, and Jesus is her favorite pastime. You can find out more about her here.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Paola @ Swallow the World
    August 30, 2018 at 3:00 am

    This! My heart grieves for all my family members (starting from my mom) and friends that have drifted away from God… I always feel so responsible for their souls! St. Monica, pray for them before God.

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