The diagnosis? Constipation.
I groaned and laughed when I realized we'd taken him to the ER for constipation. But it was a nervous laugh, because I knew the hospital bill wouldn't be pretty. (And I knew that based on our particular health insurance plan and deductible, we would be responsible for the bill.)
Last night before bed (bad timing!), I logged on to our health insurance website to see how much we'd owe.
And...I freaked out. It was a lot higher than I expected. We've also had major car repair and maintenance bills recently. Carefully-saved cash savings can be spent so quickly, and that tends to undermine my sense of security.
It wasn't a pretty sight, last night. Tears, panicked worries about other anticipated expenses months in the future. Guilt that we haven't been as careful with discretionary expenses as we should be. I was a mess.
I sat down in a private place (which happened to be on top of the closed toilet in my bathroom!) and started to think and pray. As I mentioned recently, my faith in God has really been renewed lately. I knew I needed to look at this from a perspective that put God in the center of the situation instead of continuing to fight for air, drowning in the quicksand of "what ifs."
Lately there is a principle I've been telling myself, and it's really helped me to have less anxiety. Focus on what you do know, not on what you don't know.
I don't know what will happen when I call to discuss some hospital charges that don't make sense to me, or what other expenses will come up in the future, or exactly how much money we can save by making wiser choices, or exactly how much income will come into our household in the next six months. These are the things I worried about last night, even though they are things I don't--and can't--know.
What I do know is this:
- God has provided for me every single day of my life, and He will continue.
- According to Proverbs 3:5-6, if I trust in God instead of my own understanding, and if I submit to Him, He'll make my path straight. That means He'll show me the next step. And the next. And the next. What a relief!
- I know all the comforting promises and truths of Matthew 6:25-34. When I seek God first, He will provide for me! Worry is pointless!
- Jesus said that I should ask God for my daily bread. Sure, I can make wise plans about tomorrow, and next month, and retirement, but as long as I have my daily bread, I have what I need. I have my daily bread already, and much more.
- Maybe at times we should have been more careful with how we've spent our money. But even if we've made mistakes, they are "as far [from us] as the east is from the west." God doesn't require me to be perfect in order for Him to provide for me.
Honestly, I'm still having to fight against the desire to worry and to "figure it all out." But when that happens, I can choose to shift my focus. It can be tough, changing old thought patterns. But I know that this current situation will help me to more deeply learn a skill that brings so much peace:
Focus on what you do know, not on what you don't know.