I am shamelessly borrowing this title from Pastor Andy, and his penetrating and profound blog post (read here http://lifevesting.com/blog/2012/10/01/peace-is-not-for-sissies/)
I navigated to it from a recent post which I received via email, titled “Stop, Drop and Roll – Dousing the Flames of Your Anxiety.”
I like to start new things in the fall. The back-to-school flurry, the crisper weather and even the gold and crimson leaves on the trees combine to give me that “fresh start” feeling every year.
As I mentioned, I will be attending a life-coaching session for 6 weeks, and the leader is a young woman who attends C3 (more on this further down). I am looking forward to finding out what God wants me to do in this season of my life.
But, I confess, I am starting to feel a bit anxious, too. The trickle of Fall emails has begun – reminders about various ongoing commitments and upcoming events. Singing on the praise team at church. Co-leading a women’s discipling group with our next meeting in November. A women’s retreat in October. Small group books study on Thursday nights.
On the job at work, things have begun to heat up as well. Client meetings, travel, 2016 budgets, decisions to make about new formats for the annual report – all snowballing as we prepare to wind down this year and start gear up the next.
Each reminder, every email and calendar invite, ratchets up my anxiety meter just a bit.
On top of that, there’s personal stuff. Concerns about my parents as they oh so very slowly prepare to sell their home of 45 year to move into a condo near me. Something my mother is looking forward to and my father is dreading. Their stresses and fears trigger mine for them.
A couple of my close friends continue to struggle with various issues as well. I pray for them, encourage them as best I can. More gems in my collection of concerns.
… something I crave and pursue. But it’s a challenge. I truly want to do what Paul tells the Philippians in Chapter 4:6-7 of his letter to them: “ Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (New Living Translation) or in The Message “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
How beautiful is that?
And I do try. I do manage to succeed. Sometimes. And then… something happens to trigger my anxiety meter and off I go again. I continue to struggle but I persevere. I realign myself time and again to the plumb line of Jesus Christ displacing worry as the center of my life.
Going with God
This past Sunday, I attended a service at a church called C3. Google it to find out more about this contemporary urban church experience, birthed in Australia and rapidly spreading. Here in Toronto, they recently moved to a new temporary location at Central Tech High School. They meet in the auditorium, with a live worship team and a message delivered by senior pastor Sam. (Check out the wildfire success of their billboard “For God so loved the 6”)
The congregation ranges from teens to middlers like me, of every ethnic origination. The service this Sunday was atypical. They were promoting their new Connect groups (small groups that meet from September through December). Pastor Sam then conducted a café-chat style interview with a young couple who work in a remote area of Uganda, helping, healing and loving the people there. Their faith, commitment to what the Lord called them to (even with a newborn baby) and their passion for serving God by helping His people moved me to tears. How beautiful is this? I thought. And how I wish I had that kind of passion – for something.
All I know is that I have to start where I am. Be realistic – take a sober account of myself. Then trust God and cooperate as he gently but persistently guides and shapes me into my best self.