Posts Tagged ‘anxious’

daddy worries.

It was earlier this week, as we sat around the breakfast table, gathered around “Fruit Spins”, milk, and the advent wreath.  Last week we’d talked about “Hope”, and it was easy to talk to the girls about what we each were hoping for.  The poignant moment coming when it came to our 4 year old daughter, and she was hoping for “God”.  I asked her to clarify….”What do you hope God will do?”

She smiled and said proudly, “Whatever God wants to do!”  Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the faith of a child. 🙂

So I was waiting this week, for what new nugget of wisdom my own kids were going to throw back at me as we moved into a week focusing on “Peace”.  But “peace” is a bit more complicated than “hope”.  So daddy decided to talk a little about why we need peace.  I asked the girls what they’re afraid of, and what makes them worry.  I received many of the expected responses:     monsters (no, not really, daddy), being sick, scary dreams, and “sometimes when I walk down the stairs and it’s dark in the middle of the night, I think maybe there are some animals coming down behind me who want to eat me.”

sophieDefinitely scary, and worth worrying about.  So we talked about peace, and then daddy decided to get down on their level, and talk about what makes daddy anxious/worried.  That’s when it hit me like a sack of bricks.  I covered it well, but I felt emotion in those moments that I don’t usually give word/time for.  The honest truth is this:

I worry about my family.  My wife.  My kids.  Every time I’m away from them, there’s that back of the mind “thing”.  I can’t wait to hold them again.  To be near them.  To know that they’re alright.  But even in the most peace-filled moments, I’m reminded by the world I’ve lived in so far – there’s no guarantee.  Even when Super-Dad is with them, my children, my wife, and my home are never 100% protected to the point where I have no reason to worry.  There’s always the chance of something unexpected happening.

I remember hearing the phrase growing up, “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7).  I would smile the silly smile of a young teen who’s confident this verse means no matter what happens in life we’re supposed to smile…to prove we’ve got some sort of “inner peace” that doesn’t make sense to the world.  But twice that age now, and having experienced quite a few situations where a smile is not the appropriate response – I’m thankful for the context to verse 7.

“Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people.  The Lord is near.  Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.  Then the peace OF GOD that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe IN CHRIST JESUS.” Philippians 4:5-7 (emphasis added)

It’s not about me coming up with the ability to have peace in the midst of life circumstances.  It’s not about me never having a concern.  It’s centered on approaching every concern I have in the context of God, who can handle the big picture.  In the context of Christ being more than capable of keeping our hearts and minds safe.  I’m not to have peace because I have peace.  I’m to have peace because God has peace.

Not in a way that denies horrible things happen.  Because they certainly have, and do, and will.  Nor do we deny these horrible things will shake us to our core sometimes.  We will experience pain, and offense, and brokenness.  But the promise of peace still comes to us, in the presence of Jesus Christ.  The child born in a manger, in whom God proclaims to all of creation, us included, “I am with you.”

And in that….we receive God’s peace which transcends our understanding/abilities.

re-pacing.

I remember college life.  Staying up late talking to a certain someone until I’d lost the ability to connect my words with logical thought.  (We still joke about how one night, reeaaalllly late into a phone conversation, I asked her if she wanted her vegetables mashed.  It was time to sleep.)  Those same late nights were often followed by early mornings, jumping from class to class, connecting with as many people as I could because I was socially devouring each moment like the socially repressed awkward high schooler I was.  In the midst of chaotic college life, a few times a week, I would attend a class that stood out a bit from the others.

The professor began class, not by ringing a bell or hollering a cattle call.  He began with a prayer.  It was not usually a long prayer, at least if it’d been written out.   Usually it was only a few words long.  But the way it was prayed, gathered our souls in poignant silence.  I know I have friends who actually wrote down many of his prayers, even though he would probably laugh at such a thing.   It wasn’t about a gnostic search for meaning in mysterious short phrases.

It was.

About the power of words, and

Changing.

The pace.

Of our hearts and minds.

Toward Christ.

rubygolfI was reminded of those valuable transitions this morning as our 3 year old brought frustration to the table for breakfast.   We’d had a great morning already.  I started out with a jog (old school DC Talk!!) as we’re in the midst of “Couch 2 5k”.  Then I came home and helped get things ready for the day, helping the girls say “good morning” to our chickens, etc..while mom made breakfast.  I really needed to take the van in for a repair, but was delaying so I could sit with the family to eat.  Nevertheless, I kept glancing at the clock.  Finally we sat down to warm plates of eggs, bacon, and toast.  As we held hands around the table, I asked Ruby to pray for our meal.  So she began praying.

In this case, it wasn’t an incredibly soul-provoking pace of words.  But she prayed for so. Many.  Things.  Her prayer rambled on for quite sometime, including a prayer for our chickens…and finally I realized I was tense.  I need reminders like a 3 year old praying, to force me out of my tense need to control my daily schedule.  Moments that take power away from me, and invite me to experience a moment without anxiety over what else needs to happen.

Finally, even she forgot she was praying as her eyes began to wander around the room.  We lovingly encouraged her to close with a collective “Amen”, and the meal began.   Sure my eggs had lost some heat.  The fresh raspberry jam had made the bread a little soggy.  But the quieting, and slowing of my soul was a delicious moment I’m still thanking my 3 year old for.

May we find ourselves breathing slower in frustrating moments today…with a smile on our faces that comes from a thankful re-pacing of our day…

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