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Doug Creamer Column: Worry and friends

Last week my students competed at the district level in the DECA competition. The competition was held in a hotel in downtown Winston-Salem. The students are required to dress professionally and they looked sharp. It was a great day and my students did well. I am proud of them for their accomplishments.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column twice a month for the SNAP.

District competition has two parts: a written test and a role-play. The students take the test before competition. At the competition the students are given 10 minutes to read a scenario and then they have to role-play that out with an adult judge. They are normally very nervous about doing the role-play.

I invited my pastor, his wife and my brother to the competition to help as judges this year. It was fun and exciting for me to have them there so they could see what I do. I also wanted them to see what a positive experience the DECA club offers students in high school. Naturally, I wanted them to have a good time and to enjoy themselves.

I have driven my students to their competition for most of my career. I am always a little worried about taking the students on a trip. I want them to have a good experience and I want us to be safe.

This year I had to drive into downtown Winston-Salem on different roads because Business I-40 is closed for construction. My imagination ran wild with how difficult it was going to be to drive into downtown. Parking the bus was going to be interesting. We were assigned to a lot over a mile away. I had to get my students to the competition, park the bus, get back to the hotel and then work at my event. With each variable, worry found a great place to camp in my mind.

I called several churches with large parking lots close to the hotel. It took several calls, but two offered me the opportunity to park in their lots…one worry cleared. Google maps allowed me to study roads in and out of town so I could find the best route…second worry out. No matter how hard I tried to tackle the worries they kept popping back up in my mind. I wanted everything to go well for the students, my brother, my pastor and his wife, and for me. Worry was winning, I was losing.

Prayer is a powerful tool against worry. My wife, the pastor and his wife were praying for me. The morning of the competition I had to sit down and repent. I wanted God’s peace that goes beyond understanding. I am not saying that there was an instant change, but my thoughts were beginning to feel brighter.

Travel and the competition went smoothly. My students engaged in competition very well and the event I was working in went smoothly. My pastor and his wife decided to stay and have lunch with me before heading back. We laughed and talked the worry away. The day was a success and I was feeling better by the minute. By the time I parked the bus back at school, my worries had completely faded away.

Why did I allow worry a place to play in my mind? When you let one worry in, he opens the doors to all his friends. I know prayer works. I let worries creep in, which invited stress for fun. Before I knew it, I became a victim to their games.

Why don’t we ask for prayer? Do we think it is a sign of weakness? We have plenty of evidence that prayer works, yet we choose to try and win the mind games on our own. We…or maybe I, need to learn it is OK to lean on friends and to ask for prayer. Sometimes I think that because I am an older and more mature Christian I should know how to handle situations. The truth is, I need prayer and the loving support of family and friends.

I want to encourage you to ask for prayer before worry comes over to play. I am trying to learn and apply that lesson to my life. It’s OK to ask for help. I grew up in a house where we learned to pull ourselves up and to be self-sufficient. The prayer, love, support and fellowship of friends, spouses, pastors, pastor’s wives, family and friends are the best tools to get us through tough situations…even those living in our minds. Good-bye, worry and stress, I have much better friends like love, joy and peace that I want to have room to play in my mind.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041or doug@dougcreamer.com.