Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here we are Again

Worry. It makes knots out of stomachs and causes breath to come fast. It pushes every other part of life aside and makes murky the mind. It eats away rational thought and grows ugly and frightened.

Maybe that's why worry is not OK with God. I would even venture to call it sin. The Bible does say, "Do not worry." So why don't we listen? Jesus reminds me, "My peace I give you" and "perfect love casts out fear" and "fear not, for I am with you."

Peace and worry cannot co-exist in the same conscience. They oppose each other and reveal where my heart rests. Does it seek peace in self-reliance, in figuring it all out, or does it rest in the promises of Christ?

If I worry, I reject His peace.

To cast aside all worry, though, seems foolish and irresponsible. My flesh and all common sense scream, Yes, I should worry about my kids, and about my bills and about my health. Aren't we supposed to plan, make goals, and stick to our word? Shouldn't we strive to have our lives in order, structured, with no great surprises?

Isn't our God a God of order?

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Yes, He is a God or order, and he does have a plan. He just doesn't always let me see it from beginning to end.  Sometimes he ends a chapter and won't let me read the next.  I sit staring at a blank page. He asks me to make hard decisions and all I can do is trust He will honor my obedience.

Faith: being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. Hebrews 11:1

I am sure God has not changed. He was faithful. He is faithful. He will be faithful. I can't see ahead, but I look behind and see only His goodness and kindness, evident even in the midst of struggle.

When worry creeps in, it takes me 3.2 seconds to recognize that fear-knot and work it out with faith. I wasn't always that quick. Re-writing the circuits of a mind takes painful practice. And I've had a bit of that. And practicing faith increases faith.

A few years ago, our house was for sale, we planned to build a new one and then Robb resigned his job.  Our house sold quickly (for a crashing market) and we had no idea where we were going to live. The resignation itself was enough stress, and very public, but add to that imagining homeschooling with three kids in an apartment for a long MN winter? Enough to cause a certified breakdown.

The verse God brought to my mind was common enough. I'd heard it my whole life. But my need resurrected the words and I claimed them. I wrote the verse out, with scrolly flowers all around, and posted it on my fridge.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Every time my heart began rapid panic beats, and my mind began the crazy cycle of fear and worry, I went to the fridge and read that verse. I read it and claimed each phrase.

"Do not be anxious." Lord, I choose not be anxious and fearful right now. I trust you. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I choose to believe you have my best in mind. You are a good God. This not knowing is not be pleasant right now, but even if I have to live in a tiny, icky apartment I choose to believe we'll be OK. "with thanksgiving" I thank you for this time of growth. "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" I claim your peace and believe that your peace will come and be beyond explanation. I give my worry and fear to you and know that you will guard my heart and my mind from worry and anger and fear. Lord, you are enough.

Over and over, throughout the day, I beat a path to that posted verse.

"Do not be anxious  about anything (deep, slow breath), but in everything, by prayer and petition, (breath in) with thanksgiving,  present your requests to God. (breath out) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (breath in) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."(breath out)

As the page turned, God chose to spare us from the reality I feared. We never ended up in a teeny tiny apartment. We found this lovely farm to rent, our dream place, really, and we've been here ever since. I learned that when we give up what we think we want and surrender those dreams, and fears as well, to Him, He just might surprise us with something better. I guess he knows our hearts and our dreams better than we ourselves do. And that is why I trust Him.

Again, we are in a similar place, facing unknowns. We sold the web venues of our business on Wednesday. The question follows, "What are you going to do?"

That's a good question.

And I know what to do with it.

Today, I do not trust in shady business deals, in the promises of company reps, or in a stocked warehouse. I do not hope in eBay sales or high ratings.

I do not worry about things I cannot control. Because I know who controls all things.
I am confident my Lord will provide.With purpose and prayer I place my hope in Him.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.-Phil 4:9 

Worry flees. And Peace dwells within.

Choosing today to see the Bigger Picture that God knows when I don't.