Worry is a Prayer We Pray to Ourselves


Once a week I compile the reflections I’ve offered on Facebook into one blogpost. Here are the thoughts from the past five days:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Such a wonderful time at the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College last week. I moderated a panel called “Family Business: the Perils and Possibilities of Writing about our Kids” (or something like that!). Micha Boyett, Beth Adams, and Grace Ji-Sun Kim joined me and shared their wisdom.

I talked about my own desire to shape the imagination of people who haven’t ever seen photos and read stories about children with Down syndrome and their families. I also talked about the temptation to “sanitize” our experience, mainly because it feels like I’m violating our children’s privacy to share the hard stuff, even though I don’t want to portray an image of a “perfect” family.

I also talked about writing as hospitality, as a way of letting other people know that “You are not alone.” You are not alone in having a temper tantrum right back at your kids. You are not alone in drinking too much wine. You are not alone in aching when your child is excluded. You are not alone in celebrating the tiniest milestone. You are not alone in your fear or your hopes. You are not alone.

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

“Worry is prayer that we pray to ourselves instead of to God.” I was listening to the Renovare Podcast yesterday, and Chris Smith said something along those lines and it struck such a chord with me. When I worry, it is as if I am having a negative conversation with myself on repeat. I cannot answer my own thoughts with anything other than more worry.

Perhaps the inverse of this thought is that “Prayer is worry that we bring to God.” And the difference is that God actually receives that worry and returns peace instead. Over and over in the Bible, God offers an exchange by which we give our worry and God gives us peace.

For example:

Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (We bring Jesus our burdens, he gives us rest.)
Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (We bring our anxiety, God gives us peace that we can’t even understand)

John 14:27 “Peace I give to you. My peace I leave with you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (We put down our troubles and fears. Jesus gives us peace.)

Who are you praying to today? Yourself, or to the God who can take your worries for you and give you peace in exchange?

 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A simple, compelling, and surprisingly unusual argument that it is unethical to abort babies with Down syndrome.

I’ve written before about how the politics of abortion can distract us from the ethics of abortion, and I’m encouraged to see not only this opinion piece in The New York Times but also that this author has a book coming out about the subject.