Drip . . . drop . . . drip . . . drop . . . some days, some weeks, some months . . . the stress just keeps coming. Not in the deluge of a downpour. Not in one isolated event, but in one small thing after another. One more concern. One more worry. One more thing to juggle.
Drip . . . drop . . . drip . . . drop . . . like a leaky faucet, slowly filling the sink until it overflows.
As far as stressful goes, 2020 is one for the history books. There’s not one of us that hasn’t felt the pressure and stress of this year. And last week, I wanted nothing more than to turn that faucet off. I didn’t want one more thing added to my list, good or bad. I didn’t want to think about COVID or the election, about school schedules or masks, or how to keep my family healthy and safe in the middle of all this chaos . . . I just desperately wanted normalcy to return to our world and my life. But the reality is, things are not changing anytime soon, and even when this storm passes, there will always be new storms on the horizon.
As counterintuitive and dysfunctional as it seems, my go to coping mechanism whenever I’m feeling overly stressed has been to fixate on the problems and worry. I can’t pray. I don’t want to pray. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to let it go. I want to worry. I’m comfortable with worry. I welcome worry and wrap myself in it like a warm blanket. As if by worrying, I can exert control over the situation.
I’ve never known a time in my life where I couldn’t find something to worry about. My earliest memories often have me laying in bed at night, all the “what ifs” running a marathon in my head. Worry is the enemy I’ve become far to comfortable and accepting of. I’ve allowed it in where and when I absolutely shouldn’t, and I let it run amuck in my mind and my life.
But it’s wrong.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
It doesn’t say “try to be anxious for nothing”. It doesn’t say “if you can, be anxious for nothing”. It commands us to “be anxious for nothing”. Letting worry and anxiety rule my life is both wrong and unbliblical.
So I did what I could do. I did what I absolutely did not want to do. For me it was putting on my workout clothes and running shoes. It was grabbing my headphones and pushing myself through the desire to do anything other than work out. I turned the praise music up, and as I ran, on a treadmill in the middle of my gym, I worshipped. And as I did, the layers of worry began to fall off. The anxiety began to melt away. The stressors weren’t gone. They still existed . . . they still exist, but I realized, I had no control, and worrying only gave me an illusion of control. Both obvious and reasonable, I know, but so hard to grasp sometimes. I also had an overwhelming sense of peace knowing that the God who created me and loves me is completely in control.
I don’t serve some distant God. I don’t serve a God who sits back and watches as we all spin out of a control. I serve a God who loves me, and you, intimately, deeply, passionately, and unconditionally. This world, this fallen, broken, world, is going to throw things at us. Things that are hard. Things that are heartbreaking. Things that are terrifying. Things that are stressful and tempt us to worry, and we have a choice, I have a choice. I have a choice to let anxiety rule, or I can “be anxious for nothing” . . . whether it be good or bad or somewhere in between, I do not have to choose anxiety. I can throw on my running shoes (or whatever it is that helps me get my head in the right space), and as I’m running it out, I can praise Jesus because this life is but a blip on the radar. My problems are not permanent nor are they definite, and I can choose to believe that God is constantly moving and constantly fighting for me.
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