In full disclosure, I worry about a lot of things. As an Enneagram 2, it’s in my nature to take on not only my own problems, but often the problems of every human I encounter in a day, whether I know them or not.
On Sunday morning, I woke up in a really good mood. I had enjoyed podcast recording for a lot of the day on Saturday and was able to get my laundry done and my fridge cleaned out (yes, those are the things that make me happy!). I was excited to attend church, have a relaxing Sunday afternoon at home and then eat some yummy snacks and watch the Super Bowl with my husband. We are definitely home bodies most of the time, so that kind of day is exactly what I look forward to for recharging each weekend.
Have you ever had one of those days that you thought would go one way, but then it took a completely different turn? Well that was my Sunday. Within a matter of an hour after leaving my house, I had spoken with a dear friend who had bad health news about a family member and I wanted desperately to be able to say anything to make her feel better. A few moments later I began to receive several texts about a work situation that was hurtful to a number of folks I love deeply and I wanted more than anything to fix the injustice. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t focus on the lesson during my life group time and what I really wanted was to get alone to process some of the news I had just received. I even felt tears well up a time or two as I tried to keep a smile on my face when the worry started to flood my brain.
As my afternoon progressed, the smallest of things (like my daughter’s text telling me a curtain rod fell in her apartment that I couldn’t get there to fix or the dogs tracking in mud on a newly mopped floor) were beginning to bother me way more than they should. This feeling was not foreign to me….it’s the kind of thing that happens all the time. I can go from totally calm to incredibly worked up in just a matter of minutes. Satan knows exactly where the cracks in my armor are.
Once the Super Bowl aired, it wasn’t long until I was concerned about all of the bickering over the halftime show and how quickly the comments escalated from simply opinions of “like” or “dislike” to fiery darts at one another about morality, Christianity, politics, women’s rights, racism, gender equality and on and on and on. I wanted to chime in as a voice of reason and fix the arguing that makes me so sad. It’s a complete train wreck on those sites….and yet I expose myself to it time and time again.
I hope you've already notice several underlying problems included in my description of my day, but if not, let me point a few out.
First, how desperately I want to fix things. Everything. Things in which I’m directly involved and things that don’t even touch me peripherally. Things that matter and things that don’t. Sometimes, things aren’t mine to fix. Actually, USUALLY things aren’t mine to fix.
Second, how I let the feelings of others so quickly become my own, but rarely walk away or look away when I could. I am bringing things into my world that I could leave where they are. It’s like leaving the back door open on a warm summer day and then complaining when all the flies come in. Close the stupid door!
Finally, the thing I don’t want you to miss….what I know is most important for me to learn… is how easy it is for me to think I have control of ANYTHING….much less…EVERYTHING. I’ve been working on this for what feels like my entire life. #controlfreak #whenwillIeverlearn
Some of my favorite scripture ironically comes from the book of Job. Job was a man who certainly thought things were going one way only to find himself in a place he could have never imagined even in his worst nightmares. Throughout the book we hear Job speculate about how he got into his situation. We hear his friends give their thoughts and opinions about what he should do. We even hear his wife say, “Just curse God and die!” But my favorite part of the book of Job begins in Chapter 38 when God finally speaks and clears up all of the confusion. For four entire chapters God reminds Job of exactly who He is. I encourage you to take some time to read Job 38-42 aloud….with a thundering voice. I like to imagine the voice of James Earl Jones as God towers over Job and just lets him have it.
I haven’t endured anything that even comes close to the trials of Job and yet I begin to question God’s control in my life in a matter of uncomfortable moments. Not only God’s control in my life….but God’s control over the Universe and everything in it. I turn Him into a God who is in Heaven scratching His head and hoping there’s a plan B. The God who asks Job questions like, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of Earth? Have you ever commanded the morning to appear and caused the dawn to rise in the East? Do you know how to take darkness to its home or have you visited the storehouses of the snow?” is not freaking out. He’s got this. ALL of it. And I quickly realize, I deserve the very same thundering reprimand for doubting His power or His love for me.
Anxiety, depression and loneliness are at an all time high in our country, particularly among young people. I can’t help but think that one of the biggest contributors is the fact that we have information coming at us from all over the world all day every day if we choose to access it. There are so many problems, real problems, that come onto our radar through technology and social media access. I wonder if, like me, you might be taking on worry about things that don’t even touch your world and about which you can do absolutely nothing.
Job speaks at the end of the last chapter by saying, “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:1, 5)
Are you ready to acknowledge, “I know that you can do ANYTHING and no one can stop you?”
Once we’ve encountered God for ourselves, often in the midst of the darkest trials, rarely is anyone ever able to convince us that He’s anything less than what we’ve experienced. But even when we think we know Him so well we are reminded that, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9). He’s everything we think He is and everything we can’t even BEGIN to think He is.
The next time you feel yourself begin to worry about anything, take that thought captive and replace it with just one verse from the book of Job about the power of God. When you are overwhelmed, get alone and read aloud those four chapters. Remind yourself that faith includes surrender and letting go of what might feel like control to you. Visualize placing whatever has you concerned at the foot of the cross. Lay it all down and trust that He never stops working.
I wish I could tell you that this past weekend was the last time I’ll worry, but I know that’s probably not the case. Being a Christian doesn’t mean I’ll always get it right, but it does mean there is no condemnation when I don’t….and I never have to do it alone. I pray if you’ve only heard about Him all your life, that today might be the day you see Him with your own eyes. I promise, He will never let you down.