Wandering Worry: An Anxious Mom’s Tips for Reclaiming Joy


As a mom, I’m no stranger to wandering worry. 

Wandering worry invites you on a journey but has no sense of direction.  There’s no telling where you’ll end up or how you’ll get home. 

Wandering Worry: An Anxious Mom's Tips for Reclaiming Joy Bethany Pappas Contributor Miami Moms Blog

After my son was born, I was consumed with worry.  Unbeknownst to me, I fit the criteria for severe postpartum anxiety. 

By means of analogy, wandering worry is like mindless internet surfing or social media scrolling.  It’s time-consuming and destroys productivity.  You may start out on one thought, but the next thing you know, hours have gone by and you’ve accomplished nothing.  If you’re not careful, worry can capture your day.  Or, more tragically, it can consume your life.

Wandering worry is debilitating.  Though it slowly creeps in, it can quickly take hold of your every thought.  “My husband is late from work and he’s not answering his phone”—he’s been in an accident.  “My child’s school is calling”—something terrible has happened.  “She didn’t return my call or text”—she must not really care about me.  “I didn’t get the promotion I wanted”—I’ll never succeed.  “The house is off the market”—we’ll never find a place to call home.  “I don’t know where to start”—I’ll never finish.  The list goes on and on.

Lately, I’ve been traveling with wandering worry more than I’d like to admit.  But I’ve had enough.  I’m ready to reclaim my joy and sense of direction. 

Here are a few things I’m doing to get back on track:

  1. When worry speaks, talk back.  Whether it attacks your past, present, or future, worry speaks in an active voice.  So, actively talk back to it.  At the risk of sounding crazy, quieting worry out loud is effective.  It catches you in a moment of weakness and reminds you not to take that road today.
  2. Schedule time to worry.  Unfortunately, chronic worry is likely going to linger.  Like setting limits on screen time for a child, set limits on worry.  As my three-year-old says, “please set a timer.”  Then, allow yourself to worry for 10-20 minutes a day.     
  3. Write out your worries.  This has been extremely effective for me.  If you don’t journal, try bullet points.  During my first year of law school, I rarely had time to write because I was reading by day and wedding planning by night.  I worry less, however, when I can look back at my worries on paper and watch them fail to play out.  Spoiler alert—my worries seldom (if ever) play out!  Bad things do happen, but not according to my wandering mind’s roadmap.
  4. Memorize verses about worry.  Memorizing scripture is not easy.  But committing a few one-sentence verses to memory helps redirect our thoughts.  Here are some of my favorites:
  • You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32: 7
  • Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, [and] with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Phil. 4:6
  • Therefore do not worry about tomorrow . . . each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matt. 6:34
  • Do not fear; I will help you.  Isaiah 41:13
  • When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.  Isaiah 43:2

Quieting the voice of worry is freeing.  It’s a daily—and I mean daily—battle, but it’s worth fighting.  Most importantly, I’ve become keenly aware that even though I can’t control certain things, I can’t predict them either.  Isn’t that what worry boils down to?  We think if we “prepare for the worst,” then we’ll be ready when it happens.  We won’t.

So, Mamas—Why let worry take you anywhere you don’t need to go?


  1. This post really encouraged and challenged me Bethany! Thanks for being honest and sharing great tips. It’s crazy how worry paralyzes us if we let it. The scripture verses are the perfect anecdote.

Comments are closed.