This week seems to be going by in a whirlwind, and my schedule has been all over the place. I really don’t know what characterized this week to be crazier than other weeks, but it is. When my schedule (or should I say lack-of) gets unruly, I get worried, anxious, and fearful. Awesome combo? Not. Usually when I have a lot of pressing things to do, I fear that I won’t have enough time to do them, and this causes serious anxiety. And then by being anxious while I do things, I try to do more than I should or do it faster than I should, which usually results in something getting messed up or me just being completely frustrated. It’s basically a really bad cyclical pattern that I get into any time I get busy. Did I mention lately that I’m not perfect? 🙂
- Quick snapshot: This is what my kitchen sink looked like before I made dinner for 20 people last night. What it looked like afterward? I don’t even want to think about it! Dirty dishes (from like two days ago) = mega anxiety volcano waiting to burst.
But thankfully, I finally decided to sit my busy self down to read my daily devotional, which I had skipped for the past four or so days. Any time I skip devotions, my anxiety is like a volcano just waiting to erupt at anything that doesn’t go right. But when I am consistent in prayer time and reading God’s word, peace seems to reside in my heart enough to make functioning much more doable. Today’s devotion was spot on with what I needed to hear, and it usually is when I’m feeling this way – no coincidence. The devotional spoke of what “voices” we listen to instead the voice of God. For me, I say I listen to the “voices” of fear, despair, and action. Fear tells me I can’t do what I want to get done (and that it will be done “wrong”). Despair tells me that what I do doesn’t matter or is worthless. And action tells me that I must be busy, never sitting down to regain peace (because I don’t have time for that!), and that I am responsible for everything. Yes, these are the voices of the enemy, voices that utter complete lies.
While my devotionals often lead me to a place of new understanding about myself and my sin, they always end with a question of some kind to change whatever I just discovered about myself. In other words: something uplifting and positive. The end note was “Think of three ways you can dwell on God’s promises – instead of what you fear – today.” And so I say…
- Remember His great love for me, that He does love me, regardless of what I do or don’t do
- Make praying about my worries a priority so that I can release worry, fear, and my addiction to action to Him
- Dwell on Jeremiah17:7-8 which says:
But Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
I know in my heart not to listen to the voices. But I know the exact reason that I do is because I’m not making time for the most important voice in my life: the Lord’s. And His voice is so ready to speak into my life, but only when I am ready. When I’m ready to say yes to sitting down and not doing something. When I’m ready to put consistency in devotionals and prayer back on the table. When I am ready to fully surrender all that I think is darn important and instead, gain a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Nope, some days or weeks, I don’t have it all together. I won’t even pretend like I do because that’s just silly. I am flawed and in dire need of His grace. And thankfully, His grace and peace are free, waiting for the taking. Remembering to just let myself rest in His presence and take it? Sometimes that’s hard to remember when there are so many “pressing tasks.” But I know in my heart that everything actually works in reverse: when I take a time-out for myself with God, the tasks all fall into place just fine. When my heart can breathe because I know God’s got it and that I am not responsible for everything… Oh, what a breathe of fresh air that is.
- Question for you: Does anxiety seem to have a pattern in your life that you can identify? If so, what can you do to break that pattern?