Don’t Take Worry into 2020
Just when you blinked your eyes to open 2019, it’s almost time to close out the year. Although it is fading into history, I learned a lesson in recent weeks that will stay with me for a long time.
It happened during a nail-biting week when two worry-fests proved to be a waste of time.
During this season, I came across a quote attributed to legendary preacher Vance Havner: “Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.”
Words of wisdom for sure.
As old as I am, you’d think I would have learned that by now. But deadlines and unexpected problems can still bring my nerves to the surface.
The first involved meeting a book editing deadline.
Because the manuscript was longer than most I’ve worked on, it took longer than I expected to finish revisions so the author could review them.
I told her to let me know if she needed more time to go over everything so I could notify the editor at the publishing house.
When the author finally let me know she indeed needed an extension, it was only one day before the deadline.
When I relayed this news, the editor replied they could only wait one more week.
Two days later I left for the mountains, a break planned well before I had been offered this job.
To add to the fun, before I headed out the editor mentioned I needed to compile an index—a task I had never tackled previously.
Our trip would have been far more relaxing had I not stewed inside about the pending deadlines.
Worrying about Nothing
The morning before the final deadline, I emailed the editor to let her know the author hadn’t communicated anything during the previous week.
I asked what to do if I didn’t hear anything.
“Send it on and we’ll take it from there,” she replied.
That afternoon, the author emailed, wanting to discuss her revisions.
When I called, I discovered the changes she had were fairly minor.
In an hour, I had incorporated everything and the manuscript was ready—a day before the deadline. Plus, I discovered I had nearly three more weeks to prepare the index.
I kicked myself mentally, asking why I had made myself sick with worry . . . for nothing.
Two days later, the butterflies in my stomach returned.
I was to interview a missionary in Japan. Because of mysterious problems with Skype, I told her I would do it on Face Time.
The morning I tried calling her on my iPad mini, it wouldn’t work. So I dialed her phone number, only to hear: “Calls to this number cannot be completed.”
In the meantime, the missionary tried to call me on Skype. But I hadn’t finished booting up the second laptop I use for such conversations while I take notes on my main laptop.
By the time I got Skype working, the missionary had turned hers off for the evening (Japan being 13 hours ahead of Eastern time).
Exchanging notes via email, we decided to try the same time the next day.
That go-round we connected, everything went fine, and I finished the story. A rather enjoyable one, I should add.
However, after signing off Skype the morning of the interview, I realized how upset my stomach had been, reflecting how my nerves being on edge for two days.
Hopefully, these experiences will help me to push worry into the rocking chair and let it just sit still throughout 2020.