Tag Archives: anxiety

Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

“Ask yourself: Is there joy, ease and lightness in what I’m doing? If there isn’t, then time is covering up the present moment and life is perceived as a burden or struggle.” – Eckhart Tolle

My dear friend, Penny Doss, shared this quote last night and it cut deep into my soul exactly where it needed to. I’m a planner. I’m a constant thinker. I’m always planning for the next thing and thinking about how to make that thing happen. These things are good things. They are fun things and exciting things! I LOVE doing something new, planning for a new place to travel to, reading something new, thinking about new things (and subsequently adding to my list of things to do.)

This is all good. It really is. Until it becomes too much. You know the saying “Too much of a good thing is too much?” Maybe we should rephrase that to “Too much of a good thing all at once is too much” Amen. Because when we welcome it all once, it’s no longer a joy or a good thing. It becomes a burden or a struggle.

This seems to be happening to a lot of people close to me. One of my best friends had her first panic/anxiety attack yesterday, because work is busy and really good….and subsequently, her body told her to slow down. I talked to another good friend this morning who talked about how he and his wife are busier than ever, and while so much good is happening, it’s become hard to enjoy the present moment and just be still together. I told my friend who had the panic attack that sometimes it’s hard to be intentional about slowing down both physically AND mentally when you’re happy. But, unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), it will rear its head on us physically and mentally if we don’t pace ourselves.

My mom, who is probably the most prophetic voice in my life, told me a month ago that I was on her mind, and that I needed to just slow down and be more present. It resonated within me, and we both kind of laughed at how so many of my phone calls to her, “Mom! I have an idea. What do you think about this?” And, bless her. She just cheers me and my ideas on, but I know on the other side of that phone call is her sometimes putting her hand on her head and whispering, “Jesus, be near.” Then, she with absolutely NO chill at all, tagged me in a post that said, “Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.” Thanks, Mom. Thanks, Bob Marley.

So, here’s my lesson for today. And for tomorrow. But mostly today, because, I’m learning to be present, right? Good things are good. But don’t let so many good things at once rob you of the better (the now.) Slow down. Stop trying to put the round peg in the square hole. It’s all going to get done. It’s all going to happen. We just have to know when to push something and when to flow in something. Both are necessary from time to time. For me? I need to push some things (like exercising and finishing school.) And, I need to flow in some other things.

Because, it’s in the push that we achieve what we need to achieve. And, it’s in the flow that we enjoy what we’ve ALREADY achieved. What’s already in front of us.

Let’s not just get wet today. Let’s feel the rain. Let’s push the things we need to push and not the force the things we shouldn’t force. Let’s learn the unforced rhythms of grace again and enjoy today.

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Filed under Spiritual Journey, life, Chasing Dreams, Life Experiences

I’m going to follow Jesus.

I heard Andy Stanley say last weekend, “Becoming a Christian is easy. Following Jesus is almost supernatural.” Because, if you don’t choose to follow Jesus, you’ll be satisfied just believing the right things…..instead of doing them. We will be content in the believing and knowing instead of the acting and reacting.

There is a lot going on in our country and around the world. I know you’re anxious. I know you’re worried. I know you’re unsettled. I know you’re ready for peace. I know you’re ready for calm. I know you are.

But, you have the power to bring it. WE have the power to bring it.

You have the power to bring that peace and bring that calm.

I’m not going to sit here and type a dissertation or argument on why one needs to understand what our black friends mean when they say “Black lives matter.” I’m not going to try to convince people in a blog post about what white privilege is or tell you how to feel about it. I’m not going to tell you the countless stories of heartbreak and fear from my black friends to try to sway you to understand. And, believe me, there are many.

Instead, tonight, I want to talk about what we are called to do when people are in pain. When hearts are broken. When fear is overtaking those we love. When anxiety is overwhelming. I want to talk about what we do when we hear pain and when we see it. Because, I know what Jesus did. He didn’t ignore it. He didn’t wish it would go away. He didn’t justify it or excuse it. He certainly didn’t get angry about it.

Instead, He listened and leaned into it. Not only did He listen and lean into, He poured His peace and healing out onto it.

And, not only did He pour His healing onto it, He gave His life for it.

He gave His life for the hurting. For the oppressed. For the happy. For the sad. For those who were winning and for those who were losing. He gave His life for those who were suffering and those who were in pain. Without asking anything of them. Without demanding anything in return. Without touting His own righteousness or how He had lived a human life so perfectly……and could He not have boasted in His perfectly lived earthly life? I don’t need to give out my resume of righteousness and good deeds. None of us really should be boasting in our humanity. Because, that’s not love, and that’s not Jesus.

So, in this heart-wrenching time where people are raging and shouting…..and where people are suffering and crying out in pain….

I’m going to follow Jesus. I mean REALLY follow Him.

That means I’m not going to justify my own life. I’m not going to say “Yes, but…..” I’m not going to wish it all away. I’m not going to hope it all just fades. I’m not going to ignore it.

I’m not going to deny people’s pain and suffering.

But, I’m going to prefer it.

I’m going to prefer those who are hurting.

I shared with my own little family this week that we HAVE to prefer people’s pain. We do it in our own family together. I’d bet you do it in yours. Your spouse or your child is hurt. Maybe they are hurt by you. It’s easy to sit there and justify our actions or say “That wasn’t my intent.” It’s easy to respond with “That is not how I said that” or “That is not my heart.” But if I want to bring healing to Kris or one of my children, I have to OWN it. I can’t tell you the times, that even when I didn’t fully understand their pain, I looked at them and said, “I am so sorry you are hurting. What can I do to make it better?”

We have to prefer people’s pain. Actually, we have to prefer people period. And, to do this will take divine humility. It will take empathy. What is empathy? It’s understanding and sharing the feelings of another human being. And, we can’t understand each other and share each other’s feelings without listening. Without owning.

Without leaning in.

Without pouring out healing.

And, without sacrificing what we think, what we feel, and what we want for someone else. That’s what following Jesus looks like.

Sacrifice.

Humility.

Empathy.

That’s what love looks like. And, that is what healing and peace look like.

And, it’s within each of us.

We just have to decide if we are willing to settle with believing that people matter to God and are extremely valuable…..Or, we decide to follow Jesus and do the things that show people they DO matter.

I do it in my home. I work hard to do with those I’m in relationship with. And, I am called to do it with every single person walking this planet.

If Jesus is the answer (and I believe He is), then let’s follow Him and do what He did.

Tonight, I pray for eyes to see people the way Jesus does. I pray for ears that hear people’s pain. I pray for hearts that lean in to heal.

I pray for you. I pray for this nation. I pray for peace.

And, I pray I become peace.

May we all become it as we choose to follow Him.

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Filed under God Stuff, Love, making an impact, Relationships, Uncategorized

When Fear and Anxiety Try To Win.

I have moments where I worry just like you. I let my thoughts run wild. I don’t discipline them and before I know it, I am awake in the middle of the night doing the exact opposite of what I tell other people to do. Anxiety fills me. Fear grips me. Stress takes over my physical and mental being. It’s an awful feeling. I long for morning, because I need a new day. A new grip on life. I need Kris to wake up and reassure me what I need reassure myself.

Last night was that kind of night for me. I tossed and turned. I let fear grip me. Hold me. Wrap its ugly hands around me. Grab hold of me like it owned me.

I finally slept the last hour. My alarm went off. I peeled open my eyes. And, I reminded myself of this scripture:

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. 
2 Corinthians 10:5

DEMOLISH those thoughts that don’t come from Him. Take them captive. Interrogate them. Hold them captive so they can’t hold you. Remind your soul of who God is. Recall every time God proved Himself faithful to you.

Recall every stone that has piled up in your life as a memorial to the goodness, the faithfulness, and the mercy of God.

Remember every situation that looked impossible and how God grabbed you and said, “I am for you.”

Hold onto thoughts of His goodness. Hold onto His love that stretches wider and deeper and longer than anything we can imagine.

Hold onto THOSE thoughts.

Hold them tightly.

Demolish those other thoughts. Take them captive. Strip them of their power. Because, the One inside you is greater. He is truth. He is good. And, in Him, we have no fear.

This Sunday at Eagles Way, I will be opening up our new series, Silent Night, with this very message. I will preach it with as much passion as I possibly can. Because, I know what it feels like to be gripped by something that takes the wind out from under you. But, I also know what it feels like to send those thoughts back to hell. And, to rise up with a renewed confidence, a renewed mind, and renewed passion for TRUTH.

His mercies are new every morning. And, because, of those mercies, this is mind is new….and finally, it caught up with what my Spirit already knew.

 

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Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, life, Spiritual Journey