Doesn’t that picture just make you SO sad? Same. But this story isn’t really about avocados.
Today has been a day of me having to be really real with God. It’s 1 in the afternoon, I haven’t washed my hair yet, and the avocado I opened for my lunch was completely rotten (THE worst!). My to-do list keeps getting longer the more things I try to check off, and the myriad of spinning plates feel like they’re all crashing around me at once. This is where we get real. This is where we have to decide: Jesus or my anxiety. Because, if I’m being honest, there isn’t room in my heart for both.
So I’m sitting down to write instead of making check marks.
The world, social media, and all the other voices we listen to that are not of the Lord like to trick us. Actually, I don’t even need their help – my own brain likes to trick me into thinking that, if I can just do it all, solve all the problems, out-plan all the potential pitfalls, I will be okay. This is the heartbeat of my anxiety. It quickens until I’m paradoxically paralyzed in inaction. But as this heartbeat rises, I have a choice.
The first grace was the realization that the choice is there; I used to not even know that. I would spiral into anxiety, unaware I had any way out beyond figuring it all out satisfactorily enough that my brain would stop freaking out. I shockingly report to you that it never really would.
But God’s grace has shown me that I do actually have a choice in those moments. Moments when I wake up anxious from bad dreams and carry it into my reality. Moments when I’m consumed by a problem and can’t quit my need to fix it immediately. Moments when I’m caught up in the worry of all the problems that are far beyond my ability to solve. Moments of longing, fear that I’ve missed out on all the good gifts. As if.
My choice itself is simple; it’s the stopping to choose that is the hard part.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
The words of Matthew 11 in the Message version flit through my mind.
My prayer is simple, dependent, and expectant:
Jesus, show me what you’re doing in front of me right now. How can I be faithful in this moment? I choose to let you take care of the other ones.
He takes me back to a favorite passage, memorized by a 14-year-old Kimber whose anxieties were far smaller, but just as big in her mind then. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
Anxiety. Rebekah Lyons says it’s just our fancy word for fear. But Jesus, he tells me here in Luke to not be afraid – of the plates, the problems, or the potentials – because the alternative, when we pick rest in Jesus, is the kingdom. And do you know who rules that kingdom? The Prince of Peace.
Turns out He is the good gift I feared I would miss if I didn’t get it together. The choice is mine, even if all the plates fall, to choose mind-moments with him instead of suffocating moments I spend spiraling in my anxiety. He’s pleased to give me the kingdom. Through prayer and his Word, he’s freely given me 24/7 instant access to himself – the ruler, giver, and keeper of peace. When I weigh the options – anxiety spiral or a talk with the keeper of peace – it’s not a competition at all. The catch is, do I stop to remember that the choice is mine?
This time, I choose Jesus. I choose time with him, I choose his agenda, and I choose to operate from the strength he provides. And in the next moment, when anxiety sneaks back up, I will try to choose him again. And again. And again. And again. As many times as it takes, until my anxiety doesn’t even bother knocking on a door it knows I choose not to open.
To be extra clear, the situation in my own life that I am speaking to here is circumstantial anxiety, not clinical. If clinics anxiety is your story, don’t think that I speak to that here. I love you and see you. We need to talk about BOTH of these aspects of anxiety because the enemy uses them both in different ways. Please do not mistake which I speak to today from my own experience.