I have to confess, Stockholm is failing to be the muse I was hoping it would be. I have so many things I want to do and dream and write, but I am distracted by a gnawing sense of anxiety.
Can I just say, for the record – I HATE anxiety. It feels terrible and it accomplishes nothing.
It holds out this ridiculous offer to me (that is clearly a lie):
If you spend enough time considering the details that seem out of your control, you will be able to control them.
Scripture tells me otherwise. Life experience tells me otherwise. And yet, still I find anxiety crouching in these four corners of my life:
#1 Anxiety about ‘godly’ fears
I’m anxious about work right now. Which seems strange, since I’m not currently working.
Still, I have this nagging sense of burden over my ministry and church, partly because I genuinely care about the people I have left behind.
Here is how Spurgeon would counsel me:
you and I are not of anything like so much importance to the Church of God as we may have imagined; and that the particular department of work which has been entrusted to us, though we ought to think well of it, and to do it well, is not, after all, the hinge upon which the whole universe turns.
God managed the world very well before we were born, and he will manage it quite as well—when we are dead; his Church will not die, for the Lord still liveth, and his Spirit still abides in the Church, and therefore it must live. – Spurgeon
ouch. and yet – thank God.
#2 Anxiety about ‘godly’ hopes
So much of my anxiety is sourced in my graspiness for things that I want – not bad things – but things that I am not guaranteed.
I wish…that even a tenth of the trouble we take to fit our circumstances to our desires were used in fitting our desires to our circumstances…
Try as you may, you cannot alter the world in which your lot is cast, and you cannot alter God’s providential arrangements; So, would it not be better that you should be altered so as to suit the providence, and be resigned to the will of God? – Spurgeon
What would it look like if I prayed for God to align my desires with His will, rather than asking Him to align His will to my desires?
# 3 Anxiety about past decisions
On this, I can only say that I do not know how you survive this life without the peace of knowing that whatever has passed was as firmly in the will of God as the Cross of Christ Himself.
I have made terrible decisions in big things and the small things, and I do not know how I would function if I did not believe that all things – even those that are contrary to His desire – rest firmly in the sovereign hand of His will.
A man may plan his steps, but it is the Lord who directs His way. He holds the hearts of men in his hand and he turns them where He wills.
Trust Him with your past.
Trust Him to work all things – including your questionable choices – for your good and His glory.
# 4 Anxiety about future decisions
I am a TERRIBLE decision maker. I just get paralyzed by the options.
I want God to spell it out for me, but He doesn’t generally work like that.
Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that He works things for our good in Christ Jesus. ANd yes, looking back we will often be able to trace God’s hand in bringing us to where we are . But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time. – Kevin DeYoung
Seek to honor God and walk in the way He has prescribed. And then – as the title of DeYoung’s book suggests – ‘just do something’.