You know what's hard? Living what you say you believe. I'm not talking about living to the interpretations someone else presents of your beliefs. I mean just the things you say you believe. Exactly as you say you believe them. When the sun has dropped behind gray clouds, it's hard.
Last summer I won a big battle with fear. I believe that "God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind."(2Tim. 1:7) Recognizing my compliance with the spirit of fear, helped me realize I could choose not to participate. When I firmly rejected fear's whisper in my ear, I slept without the torture of the irrational imagination. All was good.
I still believe that. I also know that the Bible says not to fear, not to worry, many, many times. I read "Do not worry about your life... Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?... Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matt. 6:25-34) "Do not be anxious about anything..."(Philippians 4:6) Anything. That probably includes what I see ahead.
So why am I struggling so hard with the perfect storm I see forming? And having just used that metaphor, do I not know that God can calm the storm with a word? (Mark 4:39) There might not even be a storm. I know in my head, but my heart is still troubled. And what comes to mind is "Let not your heart be troubled...". (John 14:1) So the battle of head and heart continues. I am fighting hard to squash worry and stay in the protection of "his wing". (Ps. 91:4) I want that "peace that transcends understanding to guard my heart and my mind" (Phil. 4:7) and I want it to be real through and through, not just words I speak. I don't want to "lean on my own understanding" (Prov. 3:5) either - because what I know about what I see is actually very little and that probably means I'm creating a worst case scenario.
The Bible says I am "pressed but not crushed". (2Cor. 4:8) I feel crushed. Not flat, but something more than pressed. I know that God's timing is perfect and I'd like to rest easy in that. But the truth is - I'm not resting easy. And with that, I'm not living out what I say I believe. That bothers me.
This tension. It goes away when I give thanks. When I hold myself to today and thank God for Carrie's adorable palms and her excitement to eat a banana. When I stop long enough to take in the green centers of the yellow flowers on the dining room table or the calming sounds of the birds singing outside. Even now, as I write these words the tension in my heart is easing. My shoulders are relaxing. Those bird songs are getting cuter and I find myself in a much better place. Perhaps that's why Philippians 4 says that thanksgiving comes before peace.
There's something in thanksgiving that works wonders. It forces me to be here in this house at this time - and not ahead two or three months in what is the absolute unknown, making up situations that may not be. Today, I will be thankful. Out loud. And I believe that what will follow is peace. trust. a tear-less night. joy. smiles. love. patience. perspective. and solid belief.