Saturday, May 12, 2012

Anxiety Medicine

So our apartment "possibility" is now a reality. A whirlwind of interviews and paperwork has resulted in a moving date less than three weeks away, a jaw-dropping timeline. Needless to say, a crazy timeline and really a crazy idea in the first place (moving into a 35 story high-rise in the heart of downtown Dallas to put on a "community development" program for people in a socio-economic class that doesn't exactly match the average seminary student) has made me a bit anxious. Nerve-wracking circumstances, like event planning, a big move, and a looming new "job" environment are all contributors to the seemingly constant knot in my stomach. But I know this anxiety to be a longstanding problem in my life. My lack of trust in God to provide for me-- or for Him to equip me with what I need in order to carry out the calling He's given me, or for Him to protect me enough to be able to face rejection and conflict-- these things are what really cause my disease that we in 21st century America call anxiety. Busy (or uncertain, or intimidating) circumstances only irritate my pre-existing condition. 

The other morning I was desperate. It was one of those didn't-sleep-very-well-still-have-an-upset-stomach-need-God-to-show-up-if-I'm-ever-going-to-kick-this kind of mornings. In other words, I've learned the hard way that stuffing this uncomfortable feeling (ie. with lots of food); buzzing it (ie. with alcohol or sleeping pills); or avoiding it (ie. with facebook, movies, more busyness) may provide some temporary relief from symptoms, but in the long run does not heal. That is because the real issue is not that I am physically hungry, in need of less mental activity, or bored. The real issue is that I am not trusting my Father. 

This past week at church, I was reminded that Jesus is my good shepherd.  Healing balm on my sore and raw heart. Healing, that is, for as long as I believed it and lived in light of it. For this little sheep, a healthy grasp on the truth often lasts about 8 minutes. Makes sense, I guess, that I am likened to a sheep. I don't think they have very good memories. Well, this morning I decided to pray through Psalm 23 very slowly, using words I can understand. I didn't want to simply recite words so repeated that they've become meaningless; this morning, I needed words I could feel; that I could mean. In doing this, I experienced God's word as active and alive! It cut to my heart and applied a medicine sure and lasting. 

My prayer mirroring the Psalmist's is not eloquent, and it's not beautiful. But it's real, it's vulnerable, and it's desperate. I think that's what the Psalms are supposed to be for the people of God. If you are feeling anxious, fearful, or needy, will you cry out to God in that way? If you don't yet have a relationship like that with Him, He invites you. 

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