anxiety

when a dream coming true is terrifying

Have you ever found yourself in that place where, what 'should' be super exciting, is instead filling you with fear and anxiety? When you find yourself in the midst of something you had thought about forever and the experience is suddenly terrifying instead of enjoyable? On Monday afternoon, my husband and I had our level 2 ultrasound to find out if baby G was a boy or a girl and whether there were any health concerns we should be aware of. I so badly wanted to be excited, but instead was overwhelmed by all the unknowns and quite frankly terrified to find out. You might not be in the midst of a pregnancy, but I have a hunch you might be able to see yourself in my story. We aren't one of those couples who tried forever to get pregnant, we weren't actually trying yet, and we did. Yes, we're one of those couples... However, I have thought about having children since I was 6 or 7 years old. It wasn't a dream that I pursued relentlessly (I didn't get married until I was 36), but it was a strong dream of "God, I really hope that someday..." Not getting married until what is considered "later in life," I wasn't sure if having kids would still be an option for us.  Yes, I know medical technology has come a long way and adoption and fostering children is a huge need in our country, but those are still not things you can bank on for certain. It was one of those dreams I had long ago let go of, having fully accepted that it would be okay if it was never a reality, all the while it was still burning deep within my heart. I'm guessing you can relate...

So here I was, on what should have been an incredibly exciting day, just wanting the appointment to be over with so we could face whatever news there was to face. Sometimes I find that I am just waiting for the other proverbial shoe to fall, especially when it comes to things that matter the most.  I want to hold them loosely and not get too attached. What if it doesn't actually happen? What if...? What if...? What if...I get hurt? I know, I know, there are so many things wrong with this kind of approach to life. My hunch is, I'm not the only one who doesn't head full on into their dreams with reckless abandon...

At the core of my fear, I found myself in this tension of wanting to hold back my love, my passion, my excitement, my hope. As I talked to God about all of this Monday morning, God reminded me of what unconditional love says, "We don't hold back our love based on unknown outcomes, we give until we give all of ourselves, everything we have and love beyond the shadows of the unknown. We love no matter what."

And then God asked me, "Do you think I've held back any of My love even though I've known full well what the outcomes would be? Not even once. Never. Not for a second. If I can, you can through Me. And when you can't and your love ends, I have more than enough to love completely. Yes, to love like Me can mean getting hurt, but it can also be the most amazing, freeing, generous thing you've ever done. And you can't know which it will be until you do it. And even when I've been hurt by those whom I love, do you think I have ever regretted it? Not once."

If God can love unhindered when He knows the outcome, we can when we don't. So here's to living and loving beyond calculated risks.

remember when you asked Me for a king?

I'm so thankful God's ways are higher than ours and God's thoughts beyond our thinking.  As I read these words in Isaiah this morning, I asked God what He thought about all this election stuff in the U.S. right now, and I imagined God chuckling.

8-11"“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
they’ll complete the assignment I gave them." (Isaiah 53)

I couldn't help but be amused and ask, "Why are You laughing?" And God reminded me that just as Israel rejected God as King (1 Samuel 8) and wanted to be just like everyone else and have a king, so too we do the same.  We have placed SO many of our hopes, dreams, and expectations on our president that we have forgotten who are true King is.  Sure the president of the U.S. might have some authority to impact our personal lives, but by and large, we have more control over our lives and community than they do. But most people I know are anxious about this year's election results, no matter who wins.  And why? Because we've given our president that kind of authority in our lives.

If God anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel, who literally went crazy while king, we can rest assured that we will be just fine, no matter how this election goes. If nothing else, more darkness gives even just the slightest glimmer of light more influence.  So let us laugh at ourselves and remember who we are: daughters and sons of the King of kings -- the most influential One there ever was, is, and will be.  As Christ-followers we are filled with the very same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.  Let's live like it.

what are you afraid of--or who?

I don't know about you, but it feels like there is a lot to be anxious about these days...the Presidential election in the U.S., rumors of another cold war, the refugee crisis... Just so.many.things. Opening my Bible this morning, my prayer was "seriously Lord, please give me some kind of wisdom or insight, I know You don't want us to be anxious, but there's just a LOT happening in the world right now that is anxiety-producing." I don't know what you pray before reading the Scriptures, but I trust that God will always speak to me in one way or another. And today was no different.

My husband Jake and I are going through the Book of Isaiah these days. So, this morning I opened up to Isaiah 51 and found this truth to be oh-so-comforting:

12-16“I, I’m the One comforting you.
What are you afraid of—or who?
Some man or woman who’ll soon be dead?
Some poor wretch destined for dust?
You’ve forgotten me, God, who made you,
who unfurled the skies, who founded the earth.
And here you are, quaking like an aspen
before the tantrums of a tyrant
who thinks he can kick down the world.
But what will come of the tantrums?
The victims will be released before you know it.
They’re not going to die.
They’re not even going to go hungry.
For I am God, your very own God,
who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves,
named God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
I teach you how to talk, word by word,
and personally watch over you,
Even while I’m unfurling the skies,
setting earth on solid foundations,
and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!’”
I mean, You're right, Lord. What, or who, am I afraid of? Is it just me, or is it sometimes simply easy to forget that God sees EVERYTHING. We get just this little glimpse of what's going on in the world, but God sees it all. And more than that, God has a plan. God always has and always will. It's so easy for me to get caught up in what I can see, hear, watch, that I forget that it's the things I can't see that are far more real and tangible:  God's plans, God's purposes, God's love, God's compassion, God's mercy, heaven...
Whether it's the upcoming election in the U.S. that's got us fretting these days or the multitude of crisis around the world, we can cling to the reality that God is bigger, always. God MADE this world and our Creator is not abandoning it anytime soon, or ever. So, who or what is there for us to be afraid of? Nothing. We can breathe easily. :)