Over the last several weeks, I have battled great anxiety and fear. There have been moments when I felt as if I could not breathe, others where my heart raced and the fear was so palpable, I instinctively looked around me to see which direction the danger was coming from, and still others where I was simply overcome by tears. I can’t really say that my fears were unfounded or even badly motivated…but fear being what it is, I can say with certainty that what I feared seemed bigger than the reality. My heart and mind were perceiving a giant, and really, the threat was much smaller…still real, just not as big as the shadow it was casting on my life.
This weekend, I think, I reached the breaking point. There were few moments when I wasn’t either crying, tearing up or choking back tears. I drove home Thursday evening in tears, I hugged the kiddos in tears, I fell asleep praying and in tears, I choked them back during most of the daytime hours, but the floodgates opened again in the wee small hours of the morning. I went to church wiping away the make-up I’d hastily applied that morning…after wiping my face dry, first of course. I shared a bit of my fears with friends…yes, in tears. Amid all the crying and fretting and fretting and crying about crying and fretting, I did one wise thing…I asked for prayer.
I don’t know for sure if it is simply the independently merciful hand of God or the effect of the prayers of some righteous and faithful friend…but this week I have had an amazing peace and quietness in my heart. In the times when I did endeavor to pray about the situations causing fear and anxiety, there was none. Disconcerted, I tried to remind myself of the giant that had been looming over me and still…peace and quiet.
Nothing has changed…not circumstances or opinions…but the Lord has come in, speaking peace to my soul and lifting my head.
Today, my sister-in-law called me from Texas. She, my brother and the kids are there visiting her family. She called to let me know they made it safe and to let me talk to the kids. In that moment, I was freshly reminded both of the enormity of my fears and also of the great mercy the Lord has shown me be stepping in and keeping me from turning this week into a fretapalooza.
I drove into Baton Rouge Sunday prepared to do exactly that…to spend the week trying not to completely breakdown at the office, yet expecting some tears at my desk at some point. The first tears came this morning…and they were few and short-lived.
As I sit here thinking over real possibilities, legitimate concerns and just how much I am going to miss the kids this weekend, the tears are there again…but as they threaten to roll down my cheeks I am reminded of something the Lord gave me through my dear Amy Carmichael…"Burnt offerings...even as the duty of every day required. Sometimes we look ahead and things look rather difficult, indeed impossible (or scary). But we have nothing to do with tomorrow, we have only to think about today; and the one thing that matters is that we offer our burnt offering (all we have to give of time, strength, love, everything) as the duty of the day requires."
What have I do to with tomorrow…I need only think of today. Truly, today has enough trouble of its own.
I find it a sufficient challenge to “walk in a manner worthy” on a daily basis on a good day…worrying about tomorrow is the equivalent of putting concrete blocks around my ankles. It is a distraction I don’t need…and is in the end unfruitful, for who by worrying can change one hair on his head?
Today’s Daily Light opens with…The ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.
My worry and fear has caused me to walk the way of the transgressor…stumbling in His ways. There is but one pleasing response…repent. I know the way… now I am to walk in it.
Lord, I know nothing good dwells in me except you. I must decrease and you must increase. Have your way in me. Let this bit of struggle and correction have its proper effect and help me to walk the rest of it out in a way that is pleasing to you. Thank you for protecting me from my sinful ways so often…thank you for speaking peace…thank you for lifting my head…thank you for the battles you have already won. I know your grace is greater than any sin of mine…your sovereignty more powerful than any fear…your mercy more boundless than I could ever measure. Thank you that I have this testimony, and for the testimony this momentary light affliction will one day be.