500: now

The plants need watering. It’s best to do it at the coolest part of the day. That would be now. I have a sermon to write and the order of service pieces need to be in by today. I should work on that now. We have travel plans. It always takes a bit to not only get myself packed but our little one, also. I should begin that now.

I used to have a really miserable habit of waking up with a thousand thoughts running through my head, immediately overwhelming me. How in the world could I actually get it all done? I’d become sad about the day before even leaving my bed. Everything was “now” and “now” was hurting me.

When you realize that something isn’t going well, you’re one step closer to healing even if you feel a million miles off shore. I suppose healing became a prayer of mine but not a conscious prayer. And yet, as my husband and I were talking about anxiety last night, I realized that I’m not who I was. I’m not completely rid of the curse but I’m so much better. What’s made the difference, especially if I wasn’t actively working on it? I’ll get to that in a bit. First, let’s talk about working.

Christians often speak in terms of legalism, that space you don’t want to occupy like “the Pharisees”! (Insert ominous music.) Sometimes we’re so afraid of being legalistic that we swing to the equally confusing and damaging side of unfounded optimism–Jesus likes me (we use “love” but we really mean “like”), I’m forgiven (even if I didn’t ask for it), and everything is going to be super fine in the end so I shouldn’t think one bit about my actions.

Okay, to be fair, this may be a tad exaggerated. But just a tad. We fear that work is bad/legalistic/Pharisaical and we try to find a warm fuzzy alternative in an attempt to take the focus off of ourselves. There’s a nobel motive at play, at least initially, but instead of focusing on fixing ourselves it’s much more helpful to zone in on who we want to emulate. And now I’m about to sound like someone telling the children’s story during church…

“And whoooo do we all want to be like, boys and girls?”
And the sea of kiddos cries, “Jeeeesuuuuus!”

Yup, it’s what we’ve heard for eons (if we grew up in church). We should all want to be like Jesus.

Prayer has made the difference for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to deepen so that’s actually what I asked God to help me with. It has moved me beyond anxiety in a really lovely way. There are specific people/things I pray for which takes the guess work out of prayer and makes me more aware of how God’s working/speaking. My focus first thing in the morning is no longer (typically) my long list of “nows” that eventually overwhelms me, not because I’ve tried hard to get over anxiety and not because I’ve tried to make myself like Jesus but because I’ve made prayer a habit. That’s my “now” and I’m grateful.

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