I am a firm believer that oldest siblings should get a life bonus for the amount of anxiety and pain we go through concerning the little ones who come after us on the family tree.
I have two sisters—one who is a year and a half younger than me and one who is four years younger—and they are incredible people. But I worry about them. A lot. I worry that they are struggling, that we aren’t as close as we used to be, that they’re working too hard or spreading themselves too thin, making choices that will hurt them in the long run, or just doing what they need to do to get by and not really enjoying life.
No one asked me to mentally anguish over them; it’s just what I do. I’m the big sister, and I care, and worrying is my dysfunctional little way of letting them know I’m thinking about them.
I wasn’t an excellent role model in my teenage years for my sisters, and we’ve been able to discuss openly how much they learned from my mistakes. (It’s kind of an enormous relief, knowing that even my hugest screw-ups were some good for someone.) They are both infinitely wiser than I was, and they are smart, independent, Godly women who are figuring out their priorities and hopes and dreams. I really don’t have much reason to worry about them, but it could be the unknown that keeps me up at night.
Maybe you’re one of those people, too—the kind who can come up with the most ridiculous scenarios in your mind that will probably never happen, but you still proceed because maybe one day it might happen and it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. I’ve mapped out a plethora of responses to situations that never actually occurred, all for the sake of knowing how I would respond.
But really, my loved ones don’t need my pre-calculated answers. They need to be loved unconditionally, and they need to know I’m with them. My mind knows this, but my anxiety cycle spins on.
The Bible is pretty blatant about relying on God and His plan for our lives. My husband has reminded me a hundred thousand times in the eight years we’ve known each other that the Lord works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
I encourage and challenge you to really think about what that looks like in your life and in the lives of those you love. Those bad choices, accidents or mistakes are actually being used by our Savior to shape us into the people we were created to be. It may not make walking through the repercussions of our actions easier or more enjoyable, but there is peace to be found in the idea that even our biggest problems are not a surprise to God; He anticipated them, and they were part of His plan.
Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
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