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When Worry Wrecks Us: Having the Courage to Let Control Go

By Bethany McDonald

God's Brave Women - Bethany's Story

When I think of bravery and myself, I don’t really come up with much.

The last time I had to kill a gigantic cockroach while my husband was at work, maybe? The time something curled up and died in our splash pad and it came down to me to remove the smelly carcass? Gross, yes. Brave, no.

Bravery, to me, especially in light of the recent 20th anniversary of 9/11, sounds like the heroes of Flight 93, or the first responders, firemen, and policemen who risked their lives to save others. Not Bethany, a stay at home mom in southeastern Virginia, just trying to make it to bed time without losing her mind.

The opposite of bravery—fear—is what I feel most of the time. Not to brag, but I’m really great at worrying. It’s what I do. I justify it by saying that it helps me be prepared for every situation, that I feel better when I just have a plan.

A prime example of this took place last week, the night before my oldest was to attend her first day of kindergarten. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, my body cold and clammy, the literal embodiment of the words “nervous wreck.” I was regaling my husband with all the reasons I was anxious for our daughter to start public school in the midst of a global pandemic. After a pause in my tirade, I hit him with the classic, “What are you thinking about?” With concern edging his voice, he replied, “I’m thinking about how you’re so stressed and afraid.”

Record scratch.

My poisonous worries had spread from me and had started to infect my husband. If left unchecked, who else would they spread to? I realized that I had to make a choice: fear or bravery.