Anxious Thoughts and Notions

I felt the anxiety creeping over me even as we sat together praying around the fire. Tim and I found ourselves with dear friends in the wee hours of the morning listening to the waterfalls as flames crackled into embers. "I should be home by now checking on the girls. Asha is asleep, what if one of them wakes and needs me?" The fear kept building the whole fifteen-minute drive home. "What if something happens?"

We stayed out much later than anticipated.  

Anxiety can do ridiculous things to a woman’s mind. The next thing I knew I was envisioning smoke in the sky and fire trucks and ambulances in front of the house. So I whispered a prayer, for forgiveness, and safety.

One minute away from home and my body began to relax: no smoke in the sky. We turned left onto our winding road through the woods. But as we turned the blind corner, we could not go any further because up ahead, right in front of our house, ambulances, police, and firetrucks blocked the road. I could not even think straight.  

This crazy mother leaves her husband in the car, jumps out and starts running through the woods towards our house. "Are all three pixies still inside?" I frantically thought. "No child wandered out alone?"  

I banged on the back door, woke Asha from sleep, and ran upstairs to count all three girls asleep in their beds.  

And I weep.

The anxiety and fear washing away through the tears.

I step back outside onto the front porch as I wait for Tim to turn the car around and find an alternative route into our driveway. Meanwhile, the medics pulled a nineteen year old drunk driver from his car. He crashed head on into a tree.  

And some mama’s heart is breaking even as she yells profanity at him for being so stupid. His body will be ok, but the firetrucks, ambulances and police lights all testify to the destruction.

Anything, Really?

And I hear your voice remind me, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Anything. Really?  

How does one practically make this a reality? Days of fear, hours of worry, lifetimes of anxiety can plague a spirit. People’s New Testament Commentary points out that the translation here in Paul's letter to the Ephesians is, “Have no distressing anxiety about anything.” 

In other words, “Be careful {full of care} for nothing.”

It seems that there are a million things in a day one can worry about. The imaginations of our mind often create scenarios that leave us walking with a limp. Only we haven’t wrestled with God, as Jacob did, we’ve only wrestled with the worries of our mind. 

I believe God's grace can extend to our imaginations. But His strength shows itself strongest when actually in the midst of our struggle. When we fail to bring every thought into captivity, when we allow the whispering weak lies of "what might happen" we create an anxious world that exists only in our minds. 

What Might Be

There is only One who knows what the future holds. And when I allow the enemy to create imaginations in my mind of what might be, I give him a foothold. In The Screwtape Letters Wormwood reminds Screwtape, “There is nothing like suspense and anxiety for barricading a human’s mind against the Enemy. He wants men to be concerned with what they do; our business is to keep them thinking about what will happen to them.”

How many minutes of my day do I waste time thinking of what might be?

Anxious thoughts form a barrier between me and my God.
Fearful notions conjured up prevent me from being about my Father’s business.

I fell in love with Tim when I was finishing up my last year of Seminary. He was in a rogue band, traveling the country, headed to Ireland to stay with C.S. Lewis’ son, Douglas Gresham, and his freedom was everything I was not. I was tethered to books, Greek, Hebrew, working three jobs, and all the while I wanted the freedom of the open road Tim offered.  

While he was traveling, Tim mailed me his newest cd, Anxious Thoughts and Notions (in those days iTunes was still a figment of the imagination). I could not stop listening to it. I sensed a freedom and restfulness in Tim that I never met in any one else. One who was not tethered with the worries of the world, the anxieties of life. And I wanted that.  

The kind of rest from anxiety and fear that can only be found in the presence of God.

I saw it in Tim. A man who found his rest as he waited in the shadow of the Almighty. Because the truth is, all our anxious thoughts and notions subside when I AM is present.

Anxiety cowers as we abide in the vine.
Fear cripples in the shelter of our God.
Worry ceases as we practice the presence of God rather than Fear.

It’s quiet on our front porch tonight. I hear the crickets chirp, the screeching owl call out ... "and you will find rest for your souls."

Momma to three pixies, Lyric, Brielle, and Zion, wife to a Viking-loving writer, daughter of the King. My blog reflects living the lyrics of the cross in the beauty of everyday. I hold a Masters in theology, but more importantly, I host several barn owls in the second acre. We are all about breathing deep here and soaking in the glory of life.