Hurricanes & pots of anxiety

There’s a pot of anxiety on the front burner of my heart, and it seems to simmer 24/7 lately. Three times now I’ve started to list its ingredients, but it’s too dispiriting. I would rather focus on what will effectively turn down the heat.

Music that lifts up, exalts, pleads with, cries out to, & holds on to Jesus – those songs serve to turn the burner down a notch. I turn the volume up so I can sing loud, close the door so my enraptured face and body language don’t embarrass me or anybody else.

Sitting with my journal, even if the pen spends half its time poised on my lower lip while I think – that turns it down another notch.

Turning the parchment-thin pages of my Bible to Psalm 62 – this clinches the cooling of that pot of anxiety. I read, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him…he is my fortress, I will never be shaken….my hope comes from him…he is my mighty rock, my refuge.”

hurricane-matthewA monster hurricane may rage in the Atlantic – it serves partially to remind us we are not the One in control. Gungor says, “Trees clap their hands for You; oceans bow down to You.” Yes, oceans bow – and writhe, and rage, and roil, and none of it can we control, not with our little pea brains. We watch the video clips with dawnings of understanding: that we are not as strong as we think we are, that there are greater issues beyond our small circles of life, and that we humans are connected to one another.

There may be – there is – a hurricane raging in American politics, too…but there, too, the Lord is sovereign. The affairs of nation-states (all of whom are man-made) are tangential, at best, to his purposes and plans. His primary concern is for his own Kingdom, its expansion and strengthening under its rightful Ruler. That Kingdom has no earthly borders, only one path to citizenship (the all-sufficient work of his Son), no rights (all are servants to all), no walls (all are welcome), no debts but the debt of love, and no end. And, least we forget, his word has little good to say about empires.

There are hurricanes in my larger culture – raging storms of racism, fear, resentment, bitterness, violence, and so much anger. They churn division, distrust, and even death as they spin. These storms cry out for words of peace, of rest, of healing, of faith. So I sit longer with Jesus and ask him to help me be that calm, that truth, that power, that healing agent; I ask him to help me stand up in the bow of the vessel, like he did with his terrified disciples, and say to the violent wind and waves in my world, “Quiet. Be still. Have faith. Obey.”

And there are little hurricanes in my little world, too: in my marriage, in my wallet, with my kids, in my church, among dear friends and faintly friends and former friends. They swirl in irritating eddies. So I pray. I take walks, drink hot Earl Grey tea, eat popcorn, read novels, cook soup, sit on the patio and soak up the full autumn sun, hug Hannah 88 times every day, explore NASA videos with Samuel, take half-hour naps, worship with zest on Sunday morning, text my friends with love and Scripture and pictures of my children.

And in it all, the goodness of Jesus stands. It permeates. It oozes into my anxious soul and soothes it like a perfect dab of Vicks vapo-rub. It lifts my spirit like a deep inhalation of peppermint tea. It is a poultice of blessing, an elixir of hopefulness, a spiritual drug cocktail, if I may, that sets all the hormones and enzymes and blood cells in balanced, harmonious order, that gets the spiritual synapses firing in formation.

Tomorrow I’ll come back to this place – to the music, the journal, the Word – and maybe that simmering pot of anxiety won’t be there, or won’t need to be adjusted. Or maybe it will be boiling. Or maybe the Lord won’t touch it, but will let me stew in it a while while I seek him, walk through it. I don’t know. But I come anyway, because I know this one thing: my Deliverer will come, even if the stars should break faith with the sky.

Published in: on October 9, 2016 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  

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