Grateful For My Anxiety

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It’s funny how one day I can be in a state of near- full surrender, of kingdom-mindedness, of eternal focus, and the next day I can be a tightly wound ball of anxiety with my eyes fixated on the temporal and my thoughts magnifying what isn’t going my way.

I’m working on a collection of short meditations on anxiety right now. They are the things I say to myself and to others - and the things I think God says to us - when we are rolling in the muck of it. But as I write these down, as I contemplate the anxiety monster, I find myself incredibly grateful.

The knot in my stomach, the tsunami of thoughts, the tightness in my chest, the trembling limbs - they light up the cockpit of my life and remind me, painfully, to get out of the pilot’s seat.

In this way, the anxiety is a gift. For me it is a clear heads up to get my head up.

It still sucks. I don’t love it. At its best it is mildly aggravating, 
at its worst it is soul crushing. It’s a monster we won’t be bothered with on the other side of eternity.

But I’m grateful for the way it has taught me to shift focus.

For how it teaches me surrender.

For how it won’t let me be the pilot - how as soon as I take control of the cockpit it wakes up and sounds every alarm.

I don’t love it, but I’m grateful.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

THIS IS AN EXCERT FROM MY BOOK CAPTURING THOUGHTS AVAILABLE HERE

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Dear Struggling Single Mama

Dear Struggling Single Mama

It is one of my favorite things about God - how, when he tells us to do something, it is for us, it is for OUR benefit, it is for OUR good.  He's not sitting in heaven watching for someone to follow the rules and then pulling a string to drop blessings on the one who is obedient - the rules ARE the blessing.  His commands, the things he asks us to obey, are for US.  He doesn't tell us to forgive so a burden will be lifted from someone else - he commands us to forgive so a burden will be lifted from US.  He doesn't tell us to be careful with our words simply to avoid hurting other people - he tells us to be careful because the words we use affect US.

And when he tells us to love others - when he says this is the second greatest commandment - it is not only for the people we love, it is for US.

This is what I don't want you to miss, single mom who likely has more than her share of burdens, I don't want you to miss this step. LOVE OTHERS.  It is too easy to get lost in the muck - in all of those unfair and impossible things.

In two sermons and on one radio show this week, I heard speakers talking about "reaching out" to single moms or "helping" single moms.  Don't hear me wrong because I think this is fantastic.  Many among us could use a hand - we could use a little love sent our way.  But those messages are given to encourage the hearer to reach out to others AND THOSE MESSAGES ARE FOR US TOO. It is not a message to single moms to wait for someone to help them, or to get angry because no one is complying.  Even if we are on the list - that list the preacher gives of people who could maybe use a little help, a little love - we are still called to reach out.

And this call is for OUR good.

Because if you are focused on your own muck, it will drown you.  We have to look out - away from ourselves.  We have to turn our attention from our muck to the muck of others.  God gave you gifts - talents and skills - and He has a purpose for your life, for every day you live.  He wired you to find fulfillment in reaching out to others, in offering your talents and skills for their sake.

Freedom is there in the reaching out.  Growth is there.  Healing is there.

Reach out.

How To Find Your Way Back To God

Finding God when you’ve drifted far from Him

I grew up without much of an introduction to God.  I’d heard of Him, of course, but I didn’t know Him.  Then I found Him, or He found me, and we were tight, because “tight” is something I said a lot in those days.

And then I fell away – it’s a longish story for another time, with lots of twists and turns, lots of striving, lots of pain. 

I was lost again.

I found my way back in an instant.  Literally, it was instantaneous – I walked into a church, my old church, the church where I was baptized.  I was there for a funeral but the very second I walked in, it happened.  I remembered.

I remembered God loved me. I remembered it was an all the time – forever - no matter what - kind of love.  I remembered I didn’t have to go back up the winding path I slid down.  I didn’t have to go back through every twist, every turn.  I didn’t have to strive.

I only needed to turn toward Him.  

And as I walked through those doors to celebrate the finished life of an old friend, I also welcomed new life in my own heart.  The weight of the past six years slipped off of me and onto Him and He carried it away as if it was nothing. 

I was found again.  

Later, as I reflected on how simple it was to be found, an image/vision/whatever you’d like to call it came to me.

I was sitting in a car - lost, so far away, years and distance and mistakes and regrets away from my God.  And in my earthly way of thinking, I was sitting in this car staring ahead, wanting to return, but unsure of the way back.  

A stack of maps showing where I’d been sat beside me and I’d pull them out, one by one, trying, striving to see the way home.

And then I walked into the church building and in that moment the maps were pushed out of the way and I saw something.  It was there the whole time, a part of this car since the beginning, stitched within me in my mother’s womb.  

It was a GPS of sorts. A red escape button.  Instead of maps to follow back through the way I came, it mapped out the closest way home. And because God is outside the bounds of earth distance and earth time, because the twists and turns and slides I took did not take me any farther from His reach, because the throne of God is not protected by moats and gates and high walls – not even, anymore, by a veil – I was instantly transported.

When I pushed the red button, I was instantly in the throne room, instantly with My God, instantly where I belong, instantly home.

I wrote a song about this. About how God is just a whisper away. I’ll share it eventually I’m sure.

He is just a whisper away, a red button away, from you too.  You don’t need to search maps or strive or make your way back through the twists and turns and slides.  He is just a whisper away.

Whisper to Him.