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Stepping Off the Wheel of Worry

  • Lori Freeland Crosswalk.com Contributor
  • 2012 4 Apr
  • COMMENTS
Stepping Off the Wheel of Worry

3:00 A.M.

I can just make out the small green numbers on the cable box. Why did I think this couch would be more comfortable than my bed? My body pillow hangs off the cushions and the blanket tangles around my legs. At least I’m free to toss and turn without heavy sighs from my husband’s side of the bed.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Jeffrey scampers inside the blue plastic wheel hooked to the bars of his hamster cage. For the last hour, I’ve been tossing and turning to the rhythm of his relentless, nocturnal quest. The wheel spins faster and faster. Jeffrey goes nowhere.

Pushing my head into the pillow does nothing to block out the squeak of Jeffrey’s wheel. Restless, I can’t get comfortable. How am I going to clean the house, get to the grocery store, make snacks for Maddy’s Brownie party, edit Alek’s World View paper, help Kyle study for his Spanish test, prepare for our co-op’s student council meeting, and still get through Maddy’s Abeka worksheets in time to make writer’s group? Especially if I don’t get any sleep tonight?

How did I get so busy? Homeschooling three kids, teaching and advising student counsel at co-op, girl scouts, tennis, charities, driving the boys to outside classes. Not to mention the daily crush of dinner, cleaning and laundry.

And worrying.

Always worrying. Am I smart enough to teach? Have I rounded out our curriculum? Am I tuned into the kids’ learning styles? Would they be better off in real school? Will Kyle get into college? Was duel credit the right choice? Was I wrong not to push Alek into baseball? Am I pressing Maddy too hard in math? The wheel picks up speed. My mouth is dry. It hurts to swallow

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Can you WD-40 a hamster wheel?

Jeffrey’s persistent quest continues. Half his body slides off, but a last second foot maneuver saves him and he catches the wheel and keeps on running. Give it up already. Face it, Jeffrey—it doesn’t matter how fast you run—you’re still going nowhere.

Despite the amount of body hair he sports, Jeffrey and I aren’t that different. We both run. Neither one of us getting very far. Day after day, commitment after commitment, mini crisis after mini crisis, Jeffrey and I race ahead,  never bothering to slow down long enough to look around and realize we haven’t moved at all.

What are we running for? What are we running toward? I can’t speak for Jeffrey, but my motto is Make It Through. I rarely stop and ask God what He wants me to do. I forget life is the sum of each moment. As I run past those moments, I’m wasting them.  

In Matthew, Jesus confronts Peter on his wheel, challenging him. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23 NIV).

Uh oh. That’s harsh. My entire wheel spins with human concerns.

In that moment, God reaches down and ever so gently lays the tip of his finger on the top of my wheel, slowing it down carefully, so I don’t fall off.

Okay, Lord. I don’t know what to give up and what to keep. What plans do You have for my kids? For our homeschool? And their lives? Give me peace to let go of my human concerns and fall in line with Your plan. Weed out the distractions. Help me treasure each moment and not waste this time You’ve given me with my kids. Time I will never have again.

I roll to my side, snuggle into the softness of my body pillow, embracing the relief that always comes when I stop moving on my own power. Jesus, thank You that I don’t have to figure it out on my own. You know what You want from me. 

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

Oh, and could You please put Your finger on Jeffrey’s wheel, too? Or at least make him very, very tired?

Lori Freeland is a freelance author from Dallas, TX with a passion to share her experiences in hopes of connecting with other women tackling the same issues. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a full time home school mom.