Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Choosing Joy Over Worry

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ... Romans 15:13

I am finding that the more time I spend with God... the more I get to know Jesus and what He is all about, well, I worry less. Oh, the temptation to worry is always there, but Jesus and I have a history and now I feel I'm hurting His feelings every time I worry. It's like I'm saying, "You've helped me in the past, but this time, well, I don't think You're quite big enough to handle this. This situation deserves my worry."

There's such conviction now when I worry--as though a grand piano is slowly being lowered onto the top of my head... squishing me, reminding me of how, really, I am hurting Jesus' feelings by all these fearful doubts--tiny ones, huge ones--they all matter equally.

I think part of it is that the older I become, the less energy I have to worry. (One good thing about aging--you more wisely choose how to expend your energy because you have less of it.) And too, it's like, now, I have hundreds of past examples, memories, of all the times my worries never even happened. All I did was waste time, add some facial worry lines, subtract a few years from my life and insult a huge God by my petty fears.

Or maybe, in large part, it's because I have become, well, dare I say it--addicted--to the joy and peace which God gives when I choose trust instead of the automatic worry switch. Joy and peace arrive rather like a reward for refusing to meditate upon what can go wrong, what will get worse, what will never change-- which is so very far away from:

"...You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You."

Trust shows...

...not in worry-marks on a forehead or in an ulcer or a panic attack--not in faithful-sounding words spoken out of a stressed-out, frenzied, panicked head--but in joy and peace and a calmness which cannot be shaken. And I am in and out of that, I admit, but I want, someday, to always be 'in,'-- not whining, "I'll be happy when...", but instead, to just be happy now, in this one, present moment, simply because of Him.

And I am aiming for just one thing, the same thing Paul aimed for--to know Him...to know Jesus so well, that worrying feels like a slap in His dear face--and to be horrified by such a thing.... to be horrified at even the thought of worrying.

I want to know Him so well, that He completes me and makes everything else look so tiny, meaningless and dull... that although all my friends may be taking vacations to exciting places or buying lovely houses, clothes and cars or getting terrific jobs or ministries--all of that will look small compared to simply spending every oh-so-normal day filled with the joy and peace which come only from knowing Him--not just by reading about Him--but by walking beside Him, listening to Him, being corrected by Him and realizing He has become more real than the very people walking all around me... to not feel silly giving Him the extra chair at the table or even clearing off the passenger seat of my car while I drive, making room, making Him comfortable...

... to say--and mean it--"As long as I have Jesus, I'll be ok." ...to know Him until He becomes much more real to me than any of my worries--real or imagined... and to know all will be well. Somehow, someday--He will make all things well...

...and in the meantime, knowing that marvelous joy, even while I am yet in this body... even while I am yet upon this Earth.

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