Worry: Misuse of your mind

Mark Twain once wisely said: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

One of the things people search for most is the purpose for their life. It’s the question that has stood the test of time. You are aware of the fact that you are alive for a purpose, but the purpose somehow eludes you.

This is something I struggle with constantly. When I make a decision that may be a pivotal moment in my life, I almost always make a pro-and-con list.

I’m so afraid to fail. I’m so afraid to pick the wrong direction. I’m so afraid to move myself on the wrong path. I’m so afraid of what I don’t know.

I was once told that when you make a decision, you have to put it behind you and not think about what would have transpired if you had chosen your other options. Sadly, I rarely listen to that wise advice.

My biggest mental plague is worrying about the options I didn’t choose.

I remember when I decided to attend Indiana University, a choice that would result in me ending my basketball career, I spent almost an entire year wondering and worrying about whether I made the right decision.

I enjoyed the life I was living: rowing, surrounded by my teammates, and being educated at one of the best business schools in the nation. But every time I allowed my mind to wonder, it came back to that thought: Did I make the right decision coming here?

I’ve learned that pretty much every decision you ever make, big or small, affects the course your life takes. I know the kind of person I desire to be, but what path is the best for becoming that person? These worries fill my mind.

I watch as my classmates get internships with Fortune 500 companies and large investment firms and I see their excitement. Then, I wonder, “Did I make the right decision when I chose a career in business? Or would I have been a better teacher or nurse or doctor?”

Worry is a plague that I deal with so frequently it has the ability to cripple my mind and show my weaknesses. While some can make decisions quickly and swiftly, I have to weigh the benefits and disadvantages to each choice because I fear that the wrong decision could alter my life forever.

The main reason I have these fears is because I know I have a purpose. I know there is a reason I am on this Earth and I want nothing more than for it to be made clear to me what that reason is. I want to know my purpose and plan accordingly so I can make the right decisions along the way. I want to plan everything. I want to have complete control over everything I do.

That’s just the thing, though. I don’t have the ability to plan everything, and yet I fight for it with every ounce of my pride. I fight for the ability to have 100 percent control in the direction I go. I cause my fear to fester and grow because I have the idea that I can and will find a way to plan my entire life while all along knowing it is impossible.

There is a saying that goes, “If you really want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

After 21 years, God must think I am a comedian, because I have tried to push my plans on him so many times that I can just imagine him looking at me and laughing while saying, “Oh my child, I have great plans for you. I have plans to prosper you. I have plans to give you a future. Ask me to guide you. You don’t need to worry about guiding yourself.”

Yes, I plan so much that I have also planned what God would say to me if we had a conversation about my planning.

At the end of the day, you cannot plan your life. Unexpected twists and turns will always arise.

Maybe you fell in love with Mr. Right and he was actually Mr. Wrong. Maybe you ran down the wrong path for a moment. No matter what you plan, it will be altered.

So why stress? You are on this Earth for a purpose. For God’s purpose. So why not just let him plan your itinerary and you simply follow and let him reveal your purpose to you at the perfect moment?

Take a breath and relax. You don’t have to make any more plans.

Instead, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Follow God’s will and it will lead you to fulfilling your purpose.

Columbus native Rebecca Brougher is a 2012 graduate of Columbus North High School and a junior at Indiana University in Bloomington. She can be reached at rdbrough@indiana.edu.