I’m writing this from over 30,000 feet in the air. I’ve just endured a pretty anxious ten minute take-off. I’m on my trip home from a good weekemd with a great friend.
You may be an anxious flyer. I’m not. My anxiety has zero to do with the fact that I’m just hanging out in the air in 485 tons of metal.
I’m anxious because for the past 10 minutes, the regulation of electronic devices has been strictly monitered on this flight. My lap top has been on my lap, ready and eager to be used, but the flight attendent has been roaming the aisles. That’s a lie. The flight attendant is not in the aisles because the fasten seat belt sign has been on.
Bottom line – I’m anxious because I’ve lost ten precious minutes of work time.
Vacation is great, but coming back to work having lost a day and a half is not so great. I have so much to do I feel like I could literally just burst at any moment.
I’m aware that God isn’t the biggest fan of my anxious heart, and I’m aware that it communicates a serious lack of trust and a serious self-worship on my part.
So, I’ve spent the past ‘useless’ ten minutes praying. Here’s what I prayed:
- I asked Him to give me more time this week to get stuff done.
- I prayed that when I’d be able to focus and get a lot done on this flight.
- I begged Him to help me make good use of my time tomorrow.
All those prayers took me about 7 minutes.
When the prayers ended I realized I was just as anxious as when I started and I still had 3 minutes left before I could roll up my sleeves and get busy.
It was in those 3 minutes that I had a breakthrough.
I suddenly realized that my prayers are nothing more than idolatry, and worse: my prayers are a plea for God to be an idolater too.
I worship achievement. I think achieving and getting things done will save me from my anxiety. Instead of trusting in Jesus to save me from my anxiety, I actually believe that accomplishing more tasks will rescue me.
Never once in my prayers did I repent for trusting in my ability to achieve as a savior.
I didn’t ask Jesus to be my savior in this situation. I didn’t confess that He alone could fix this anxiety. Instead, I used my ability to communicate with God – that blood-bought privilege – as an opportunity to try to recruit Him to help me out with my idol worship. He’s powerful and capable, so I asked Him to use His strength to exalt my false savior (achievement) who will rescue me from anxiety.
Not only do I think it’s achievement that will set me free from the sin of anxiety, but I actually asked Jesus to be a tool to serve that idol.
I’m hoping at some point my eyes will refocus on success as God defines it. His version of success isn’t based on a completed to-do list, or even an anxiety-free Fabs. His picture of success is a dependent Fabs. Success for God is found in the moments when my heart repents and trusts. His goal is exaltation of Himself alone as savior, not exaltation of my ability to achieve.
So, good news: I used that three minutes to repent. I don’t want to rely on a deaf and dumb god like ‘achievement’ when I have access through Christ to the Sovereign Lord of all.
He’s a better God.
Thanks be to Jesus, I have a better God.