Worry Is The Answer

Worry Is The Answer

Do you worry? I do.

Is your goal to remove all of the worry in your life? It has been mine for most of my life.

I still distinctly remember the fear and worry in college of not knowing what was next. I even remember telling people closest to me, “I wish God would send a postcard with instructions so I know I’m making the right choice.” First, there was a flaw in my thinking that the choice was about what I should do rather than who I am. A lesson I have learned from many respected mentors and leaders like John Maxwell, Michael Hyatt, and others.

In our world today, there is a lot of talk about removing barriers, stress, anxiety and roadblocks. While this is often necessary, when it becomes our full focus and effort, we can lose an opportunity to understand where to find answers by moving too quickly past a learning opportunity.

No doubt this is not a new idea. I am sure it has formed out of the reading and listening I have done, especially the past 5 years. By listening to other successful people, new ideas come to light and clarity is gained. That being the case, this time it was a conversation with my 10 year old that brought the important piece to the surface.

I get to take my son to school daily. This is some great time spent together that I am thankful for. This particular day, I asked him two questions I ask two or three times a week.

“What are you looking forward to at school today?”

“What are you worried about today?”

This time he had a specific thing he was worried about. The elementary spelling bee was coming, and he had been invited to participate and was tasked with studying the word list. His worry was that he was not going to do well during the event because he had not been studying. Without really thinking I said, “You don’t have to worry about that. If you haven’t been studying, you won’t do well. So no need to worry, you already know.” This may sound harsh, but he understood what I meant as I went on to explain that if he isn’t studying, he should expect to not do well. But also that if he is worried and knows studying could help, he can choose. He can either not study and expect to not do well or study and be proud he did his best no matter what happens at the Bee. Either way, the worry is dealt with and not just ignored.

I think the lesson here is that we want to remove worry or ignore it, but it is possible that the worry may be revealing some useful information that could help us move to the next level.

So here are my suggestions for dealing with worry in your life and mine, not just removing it.

  1. Listen to the worry. Don’t dismiss it too quickly. You may miss an important indication that leads you to just the right answer you are looking for.
  2. Seek others’ input. We all need people around us to help us in life, especially through difficult times. Find a trusted advisor or mentor and confide in them what is worrying you and see if they can help you gain some clarity about the direction you need to head.
  3. Don’t let the worry turn into fear. I cannot count the number of things I have missed out on because I let worry turn into fear and defeat me from accomplishing something before I even started. I am working hard to reduce the number of times this happens in my life, and I hope you will too.
  4. Make a plan to process the worry. Maybe have a dedicated journal or app to record what is worrying you, and then spend time processing what you might be able to learn from the worry.
  5. Don’t hesitate to ignore worry when it isn’t helpful. Even though there are times this mentality can be helpful, we face a lot of worry in life, and the reality that much of it is not worth our attention is worth recognizing. So when you worry about things out of your control or that are unrealistic, simply say to yourself, “I’m choosing to worry about the things that matter.”

I’ll leave you with this. My son did participate in the spelling bee and he did pretty good, too. He actually did really good! He placed 3rd! Out of nearly 40 students in grades 3-5 at his school, he had the courage, stamina and focus to spell words I’ve never heard of correctly. Was it my comment that made the difference? Probably not as much as I would like to think, but the principle and mental perspective to think differently about what he needed to do, I hope, was helpful.


So what in your life have you ignored or tried to remove that could actually have some benefit or provide you with some insight as to how to take your next step and maybe even what that step should be? Let us know!

Ricky Lewis is our CEO and has been with us since the beginning. As a father of 7, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.
What is Your One Word?

What is Your One Word?

I came across this idea from a book called One Word That Will Change Your Life. It was a new concept to me but has made an impact on me this year – so much so that I wanted to share the idea with you.

Basically, it is related to the sense that we all have a desire to set resolutions or goals, but all to often, we have a hard time following through. So to really get something done, maybe we just need to pick one work for a period and let that word help us stay focused enough to accomplish what is in front of us.

In 2015, that word for me has been “Finish”.

This has kept me focused quite a bit this year. In the past, I have struggled to finish. I like starting things but following through on them is difficult for me for a few reasons. Sometimes the task gets hard, and I find something easier to do. Other times, I run into a road block (like not knowing what to do next), and I forget about what I was working on. It could even be that I get bored and want to find something new and exciting to work on.

The truth is that finishing something carries a lot of weight in accomplishing what I have set out to do. For Teen Lifeline, that means I want to make a difference for teenagers. I want to add value to them so that they can be the best they can be. I also read about this concept in John Maxwell’s latest book, Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters, and he has been extremely successful at training leaders world wide. So each time I start something and don’t finish, I am risking not helping a teen, or a group of teens, that could really use the help.

I have even seen this apply at my house.

I like to dabble in woodworking. I started a project for my daughter that was taking a lot longer than I thought it would. But I kept going and finally finished it a few weeks ago. The joy on her face was enough for me to realize it was worth the time, but I also got the satisfaction of the process it took to start and finish. One more project done.

So what would your “One Word” be?

You don’t have to wait until the New Year or a birthday or even Monday.

Pick a word today and write it somewhere you will see it often. “Finish” is written on the whiteboard at my office.

Take a moment and share this post along with your “One Word”. Maybe even share where you will display it for you to remember and stay focused to accomplish the things you know are worth your time.


Ricky Lewis is our Executive Director and has been with us since the beginning. As a father of 4, he seeks to help parents and their kids Live Life Better.