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Sunday, April 24, 2022

Anxious for nothing, prepared for anything

How I have not been diagnosed with some kind of anxiety disorder, I may never know.  But it is true: I have been anxious too awful much for anyone during these past several years (and by "several", I mean two decades at least).  Especially too anxious as a Christian, when I should have been waiting patiently for God in His time.

A few weeks ago a dear friend gave me a copy of Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, by Max Lucado. I'm about halfway through it so far.  First of all, I am delighted to discover that Lucado is still writing.  I first became introduced to Lucado's work about twenty-five years ago, when I was just starting my life as a Christian.  It became some of the more influential literature during my early walk with Christ.

Second, it has been quite some time since a book other than those in scripture convicted me of something.

I've been anxious to the point of falling prey to fear.  In many aspects I have been paralyzed by fear.  Fear of too many things.  Especially of being alone.  And I have been so filled with fear of that, that it has prevented me from enjoying some potentially wonderful blessings in my life.

And this may come across as silly, but I'm ashamed of myself as an Eagle Scout.  To be an Eagle is to "Be prepared" for whatever comes up in life.  Including those things that bring about anxiety.  I should have been meeting those issues head-on, confronting them with a heart without fear, instead of letting them get the better of me.  I have paid a price for my lack of preparedness.  But maybe it's not too late to do something about that.

"Anxious for nothing" comes up in Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6 and 7...

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I should have been bold in presenting my requests to God, but ready and humble enough to accept whatever His decree was, whether it was "yes" or "no" or "wait".  I like to think that what He has been telling me all along, though I wasn't very accepting, was to wait.  I couldn't wait, and it led to me making some mistakes.  I have finally come to realize that I wasn't prepared for the blessings He had in mind for me, until now.

What would my life have been like, had I been prepared with a heart of courage instead of one capitulating to anxiety?

I will never know.  But I don't have to know either.  Something interesting about God, that my best friend told me a long time ago: we can't mess up with Him.  No matter how much we make a mess of things, He is always several steps ahead of us.  He may not set things straight the way we want Him to, but he doesn't have to.  Whatever we do, if we acquiesce to His will, does give Him the glory and the honor.  And in the end that's what it's all about.  When He answers our prayers and gives us good things, well... that's simply the cherry on top.  And one that a glad heart will be prepared to enjoy to the utmost.

A week ago as part of my "blogging for Lent" I shared my testimony for the first time.  That was twenty-five years ago, when that happened.  I am astounded and thankful and too many other adjectives, that God has been working in my life throughout all this time.  Because I am coming to see, now, that He has not forsaken me.  That there never was any reason to be anxious.  And He has been graceful enough to carry me through all this entire time of trial and tribulation.  Growth came of it.  I have to believe that more than that came of it also.  And I look forward to seeing what comes of that.

Anyhoo, it's a great book by Lucado.  I'll give it a hearty recommendation.  Well worth reading!