Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Woeful, Worrisome... Arrogance?

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 361: Today, I am grateful for "new eyes" on anxiety.

This quote from "The Soul Doctor" caught my eye.  Is my worry arrogance? 

Oh... the anguish of being a first born who was trained to feel responsible for the world around her. First born children hear these messages often:
"Take care of you sister and brother." 
"You are the oldest. You should know better." 
"Let the younger ones go first... you can wait."  
"Take care of it... you're the oldest.". 

That sounds pretty awful when I re-read it. It wasn't abuse. It was training and expectations. Mostly, it was good. The goal was to teach me to nurture and tend to those you are younger, weaker or less experienced. It was never intended to be a burden.

Mama Ina Mae was the oldest of seven... and then ten children. I only had two younger siblings and a pack of cousins younger than me. I learned so much being in the power position of firstborn! I am grateful for the lessons,  but the downside is that I sometimes display an irrational sense of responsibility over things I cannot control. Type A and Chief Worrier. 

Let's face it. I can make enough poor decisions... and I do... on my own. I don't need to claim anyone else's poor choices. 

What if... worry isn't simply anxiety... but disobedience and arrogance toward my Lord? Is a lack of trust in the God of the Universe unintentional pride? Eek!

Let's examine God's Word (I am looking at the ESV version today in a quick search):
"Fear not"- 34 times
"Do not be afraid" - 33 times
"Not fear" - 63 times
"Do not be anxious" - 8 times
"No fear" - 73 times (Nike... not so original)
"Be not fearful" - 1 time (Jeremiah 51:46)

I found 212 scriptures (ESV) that instruct us to not be afraid. I am sure there are more... but that is a quick search in one translation. (I have heard there are 365.)  The message is clear. God speaks clearly to the problem of fear and worry. 

Can we resist it and have the anxiety flee? Sure... in theory... we can flee the evil of anxiety and resist it, but that is easier said than done! We must know The Word...know His Word and intentionally apply it to our lives. Jesus said,

"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"-Matthew 6:27

Only the Lord can extend our life dash or our height. Right? He has a design plan... and he can alter it, but our worry is such... wasted... energy. I know this... because I am a worrywart. It's not pretty! 

We can intentionally choose to place our worry at this feet. My worry... for me... is a sin. It demonstrates a lack of trust in His goodness and His provision. 

He is sovereign. He is good. He is patient. He is waiting. Yet, I often cling to my bag of worries like they are precious, sparkling gems.  They are my dirty little secret sin (not so secret anymore).

Worry makes the air heavy... and it is hard to breathe.
Worry makes everything more stressful.
Worry weighs on our spirit... on our souls.
Worry becomes a lifestyle that is hard to break.  For me... and I am pretty sure I am not alone.

"To wait upon the Lord" was an instruction to make us eager and aware that God is up to something. Experiencing peace when God seems silent is an act of trust. Trust exercises are popular these days, because trust is essential for those who work in teams. Does God need our trust? 

He does say, "I am a jealous God." What things become our idols? What things do we trust more than we trust in His provision? Trust is way of saying, "I love you." It is intimate. Lack of trust tears down intimacy.  

The 40 years the Israelite people wandered in the desert with Moses...  God was waiting for them to trust in Him. Manna every morning. More quail than they could eat. Shoes that didn't wear out. "Tap water" from a rock. How many times and how many ways did he have to prove himself? 

He was for them. He was with them. Still, the minute they were left unattended, the found idols to build and worship. How many times... am I just like them? (Rhetorical question ... no need to answer.)

When we learn to wait on the Lord... we exhibit trust. 

The least of them shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord;  in its time I will accomplish it quickly. -Isaiah 60:22 NRSV

That is such a great verse. In its time... I will accomplish it quickly when it is time. Not one minute before the time is right. 

"do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. -Philippians 4:6

What a great verses to claim at the end of a year full of surprises. His timing is perfect! Those who learn to wait upon the Lord renew their strength. 

Today, I am grateful for "new eyes" on anxiety.

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