Sunday, August 2, 2015

What Are You Afraid Of?

Try, if you will, to picture this illustration.  You're one of over 7 billion stick figure people in our planet.  And, as a result you feel very small and burdened by the congestion of living in a crowded world.  And as if feeling crowded wasn't enough, you sense that, just like you, every other person in this planet carries their own issues and concerns that weigh them down.  And when you set your mind to comprehend it, you feel like you're in the middle of a whirlwind, where the world is spinning out of control.  So much so, that it spits you up into the air, and now you're the one spinning with no safe place to land.  

I hope that you were able to get some of that.  And if you managed to capture a glimpse of it, that you could see it like I see it: in black and white.  It's sort of crazy, I know.  But that's how I've felt lately.  I'd like to blame it on the aging process and possibly anxiety.  I can also blame it on the the old, "that's the culture we live in" theory.  And when you stop to think about it, there may be some truth to my conclusions.  

You see the older I get, the more seriously I look at things.  I remember how eager and excited I was to be turning 16 because that meant that I could go test for my driving permit, which in turn meant that I'd be able to practice driving, which would lead to being able to drive myself to and from school.  I was so determined and motivated.  And I did exactly what I set my mind to accomplish.  No sooner did I turned 16, I was taking the permit test, which I passed on my first try.  I recruited my step-father to give me the driving lessons, and within a couple of months, I was a driver.  What a confident feeling!  And I'd drive myself and friends to school.  I'd teach others to drive.  I'd hand over the wheel to unlicensed drivers.  I thought this was the coolest thing in the world.

Well, I've now lived long enough to know that driving is really not all that fun.  In fact, driving causes me a lot of unwanted stress and tension.  And at times, I hate to admit it, but I experience great anxiety behind the wheel.  Bridges, tunnels, narrow roads, construction sites, big trucks, etc... all make me wanna pull over and walk. Most of the times, I pray or sing myself through it.  That tends to help.

But what to do about the culture we live in?  Lately, I noticed that I've been feeling more and more bombarded with information about things that I have no real control over.  Thanks to our latest forms of social media, I can learn an array of things in a matter of seconds.  I realize I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.  We are informed about the conditions of people living in other countries, the cruelty brought onto animals around the world, the need for cure for ongoing diseases, the crimes being committed against humans, missing children, police abuse..... it goes on to finding out what everyone is doing at all times and everywhere, reading other people's opinions about everything there is under the sun, selling the latest weight loss products, skin products, vacation spots, restaurants, movies, books, and on and on it goes.  24/7.  

This is when the illustration I described above begins to emerge in my mind.  Everything is spinning out of control.  Or at least, that's how it feels.  And I can't grasp it.  I can't get my mind around it all.  So it slips out of my hand, and I feel helpless.   Like this life is out of my control.  This then leads to feelings of anxiety because I want to have some control over my life.  And it all feels so insecure.  And I don't feel feel safe.  And I'm afraid.

And so I'm scrambling to find my Bible.  The old fashioned book bound kind; not the YouVersion, so that I can sit a while and just read God's word without distractions.  I'm scrambling through my phone book, the one that sits somewhere in the back of the junk drawer because texting is so much more convenient, but I want to make a phone call like I used to do.  I'm driving out to visit friends because I want to value the time spent with others more than their pictures on Facebook.  Hence,  I'm scrambling to stay grounded because I don't want to spin out of control without a safe place to land on.  

And you know what I find?  Do you know what I come to  in my scrambling and trying to go back to the basics, I begin to find my place in this world.  I begin to settle down.  It all slows down.  And I'm not anxious nor afraid. I'm reminded of God's love.  A love that is greater than all else.  A love that is stronger than the chaos.  A love that will always be enough.  A love that never runs out.  Being reminded of this brings such peace.  

If your world is spinning out of control today, try scrambling for the basics.  Or like my son would say, "bring it down a notch".  Shut off the media influence.  Turn down the outside voices.  Try some alone time.  Quiet time.  Just you and God.  Now there's an innovation!  Try it... What are you afraid of?  There's nothing to lose, when it comes to alone time with God.  There's only gain.  No loss.  So I encourage you to try slowing it all down.  And experience peace.

Romans 8:38,39
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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