why do we want to be busy? why do we allow business and full schedules and responsibilities to stress us out, wear us down, and suck the joy from our moment to moment living and breathing?
junior year was a struggle against all of that. it was a struggle, when faced with an iCal that overflowed with more than i seemed to have time for, to remember.
we “know” things about God. we know that he is good, that he is strong, that he is loving and all-powerful and patient and wise.
i put those quotation marks in because so much of it is stuck in a drawer titled “correct answers”, but hasn’t been fully grasped. because if those things are true, then all reason to worry, all justification for stress…. its gone. vanished.
for in Christ, we are enveloped by a love that is not hampered by time or space. in Christ, we are led by a shepherd who oversees the wholeness of all of creation and time and who has power to work all things to good. in Christ, we have a Rock upon which we are placed by His grace. in Christ, we have been bought at a price by One who took the looming penalty of death that was meant for us upon himself. in Christ we are freed and redeemed and healed and satisfied (ps 103). in Christ we are brought into a restored relationship with Someone through whom all creation is held together, and who has the power to do anything he pleases. and in Christ, we have confidence that he desires our very, very best.
so then. why the worry? why the constant oppression of a multitude of details and why the suffering through the drudgery? why the burden to fix? to make things happen? why all the tension and edginess and stress?
i think it is common to want to be important. i think it is a desire embedded into the human psyche which the sin nature morphs into something ugly, because we take it upon ourselves to make sure we are as such. we want to be regarded as important, as admirable, as successful. and our culture values business in a way that makes us want to share with people just how full our schedules really are, to gain value from their perception of how important we are. we want the so-called respect that comes out of being someone who has a lot going on, a lot on their plate, a lot of people that want them around in a lot of places.
what have i described? it is pride. it is pride desiring a lofty reputation, pride desiring others to recognize us for greatness. it is a self-focus that drives us inward and expects others to do the same.
and oh… i know i’ve been there. i’ve wanted people to know just how exhausting and demanding and grueling and fast-paced and hectic my life was and how many things my days were filled with. i wanted to be/feel important, to be someone who has a lot of things going on. to be someone who has someplace to go next, and doesn’t just bum around. to be desired and appreciated.
and not saying that we should be bums. but why the consuming concentration upon and flaunting of our schedules and assignments?
there are times when i know the reasons i should not be stressed, the reasons why worry has no place in my life, and i deliberately reject those truths that offer freedom. i resist letting go of my worry and forgo the opportunity to cling to truth from His Word about the reality of my life, that i actually have nothing to worry about because i have done nothing to earn His grace and can do nothing to get out of it. i am beautifully loved and set free – why do i burden myself under a yoke of pride?
why? why would Christians ever worry?
because we still want to believe that somehow, someway, what we are doing has the gravity and weight to determine our value and our salvation. we like to think that we are contributing somehow, that the things that dance around us in the present or ahead of us in the future are up to us to fix or handle. because admitting total bankruptcy is a move that terrifies our independence-craving soul. we continue to want to rely on ourselves, because otherwise we must face the truth that we do not belong to ourselves any longer. if i can keep control over at least a corner of my life, perhaps i can use that as an excuse to avoid the total abandon that is so frightening.
by letting my self-importance things take over, and letting it wear me down and take over my joy, i am betraying my King and all He has accomplished for me. i must, as a prerequisite, forget the cross and what it has saved me from in order for me to worry, in order to stress. for as long as the cross touches my life and remains in sight, anything that comes along will pale in comparison to its beauty and will therefore lose its hold over me as something to be feared, something to deserve or warrant that worry and attention.
if i am worried about a situation, it is because i have resisted allowing God to take his rightful place as Lord over that situation and have crowned myself instead. i transfer the responsibility to me, and put the stakes of that situation working out for good on the abilities I possess.
Jesus, i am desperate for my pride to be mortified, in order to find freedom and life even when life does get crazy. i am helpless, despite all my attempts to convince myself and others differently. but teach me to rejoice in that helplesness, so that you may receive the glory of a life that honors you even in moments when it is tempting to take the honor and fame for myself. because while i was helpless, while i am helpless, while i shall continue to be helpless, you loved me. i am desperate! desperate to recall, remember and rejoice in the cross and all the victory you won on it. because the more i remember your POWER to overcome the grave and the LOVE that led you to do so, the sillier any attempt to gain acclaim from the world appears.
my search for importance may end right here, at your feet. and with that ending, the birth of a joy that transcends all may burst onto the scene.