Anxiety is not too big for God

Anxiety is not too big for God

I am starting to experience the first of probably many anxiety dreams about having this new baby. Over the weekend two dreams carried a common theme, both of control and loss of control. In my waking thought life I understand intellectually that I will make various mistakes when handling this new little person, but I also am confident that I will get the hang of it. I’m not that worried when I’m awake. However, my dream life paints a different picture. Here’s a little taste from my journal:

I dreamed I was babysitting my 6 year old nephew and allowed some lady I didn’t know, but who claimed to be a professional, cut his hair. As she began he chopped chunks off here and there until he was partially bald in several spots. I was horrified, anticipating what my sister in law would say, since she is also a hairstylist. (Why was I getting his hair cut in the first place?) I angrily took him home and as I attempted to strap him in his car seat, he became an infant and fell right out of the car, hitting the curb and rolling into the gutter. Suddenly it was my own baby that I was holding close and kissing, apologizing to her over and over again. I couldn’t believe how I had allowed this all to happen under my supervision.

And then the following night, I dreamed I was caring for a salamander and a frog. In efforts to keep them safe, I held on to them firmly in my hand until I could place them in a larger tank. When I opened my hand, I realized to my horror that I had been holding on so tight that I had actually dismembered the poor frog at the midsection. The legs and some organs fell through my fingers and I woke up in a state of panic and sadness at the pain I had caused.

In the Bible, dreams are used by God to communicate to us, sometimes by clear instruction or else by symbolism. (See Genesis 37, Daniel 2, Matthew 1, etc.) As for myself, I’m not sure I am capable of discerning whether my dreams come from God. All I know is that the fear and anxiety I face at night may be what lies just beneath the surface of my distracted day times.

It makes me wonder about the mystery of our minds and sub consciousnesses, and whether there lurk other thoughts and emotions which I cannot consciously access.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

What does it mean that His Word is living and active? First, we now that the Word is also the name given to Jesus at the beginning of the book of John: “In the beginning the was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus will also be the one in the last times to judge: “Then I saw Heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war… He wore a robe dipped in blood and his title was the Word of God” (Revelation 19:11,13).

It is not just referring to the fact that the literal “words” of the Bible which are inspired by the Spirit of God to be recorded by men, are wise and life-giving. We take these things for granted. But there is another dimension altogether that we often miss when trudging through our verse-a-day Bible checklists.

I think His word is described as living and active, for a simple reason – that God is living and active in our lives. He IS his own Word and He cannot betray Himself.

Jesus admitted that he had so much more to say to us, but lacked enough Earthly time. Instead he comforted us by sending the Spirit to carry on: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13).

We must also consider the passage in context. Hebrews 4:13 goes on to warn us not to get too comfortable in our salvation. If we stop pursuing God because we believe are “good to go” to enter Heaven, our attitudes have changed. We no longer rely on Jesus’s mercy, but have now switched over to reliance on our self assuredness.

As long as we are alive on Earth we are still able to reject our own salvation. We must sill keep sober watch over our hearts, thoughts, actions, and attitudes.

Not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.

Hebrews 4:13

So as long as I remain always turning toward God and His will for me, even though disobedient trips and falls, and how I might appear to others, I can rest assured that He knows the inner motives and attitudes of my heart. PHEW! What mercy and comfort in knowing this! I am giving this fear of messing up as a mother way too much credit. The fear is there, but so is God.

Just hit send

Just hit send

Does anyone else do this?
You take forever writing an email because you keep doing more editing than actual writing, and then once hitting send, you immediately open up your sent mail and read and reread the same email you just spent 3 hours on, poring over it, rereading it aloud to yourself, and continuing to pick it to death and kicking yourself for errors found only after the fact. Something has to hit you over the head with a proverbial brick to snap you out of your reverie and continue on with the next task. (What was the next task again?)

This is typically how I compose and send emails at work, which admittedly is a huge time waster and not company-friendly. But it’s not just at work, I’ve always done this all my life. (If my manager is reading this, don’t worry, I’m truly trying to break the habit.) Outside of work and other administrative-type emails, I mostly write random encouraging emails to all kinds of people. bloggers i’m inspired by, family members, and friends I don’t keep in touch with often. I don’t keep a schedule of correspondence, I just do it when it occurs to me. It’s a bit of a fun hobby: I go through my list of contacts in my phone, and keep scrolling until a name screams out to me in my heart. Then I try to think of something that might make their day.

However, it’s that maddening email-editing craze that often slows or completely stops this spirit-guided process to encourage someone else. It’s a kind of fear I’ve only recently thought to take notice of. Throughout my intense editing session, I’m half listening to these foreign whispers. What will they think of me? Is this weird? Yeah, this is weird. No one ever emails me like this. They probably won’t even respond.

Sometimes I end up scrapping the entire email and not sending anything. That person continues on in their day, with no idea I’ve spent so much time trying to reach out to him or her. Like a light under a basket, no one ever benefits. And it’s obvious what is behind it all — Fear.

Fear of embarrassing mistakes, either in content or grammar.
Fear of being embarrassed
Fear I wont be taken seriously
Fear that I’ll be taken too serious (This happens quite a bit, thanks to my annoying habit of quoting obscure lines from my favorite TV shows that no one gets)
Fear I’ll be ignored
Fear of being annoying

Because communication through the written word is hard. It’s a difficult art to master, at least for me. When you have to convey anything that will have an effect on the recipient, it’s a big responsibility. Like when I’m trying to tell someone to do something without telling them to do it. It takes nuance, carefully worded sentences, and sensitivity to the reader and their particular environment. Our words have so much power. That’s why the Bible is chock-full of wisdom concerning the careful use of our tongues. They truly have the power of life and death.

That being said, there’s a point at which you just have to let go and hit send. Wanted or not, there it goes. It can be scary, depending on the message. Be it a resume, break in a long silence between friends, or a hard word of truth that must be spoken. Sending an email out there is like sending a vulnerable extension of yourself into the unknown. But unlike the lamp which sits indefinitely under the basket, we must get these messages out before the opportunity is gone. Funny how in order to encourage someone, we often must take the first step of courage.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

Is there someone on your heart today? Maybe reach out and send that email or text of encouragement, whatever it might be. We have no idea the journey our words will take, but if God’s spirit is behind it, there’s no doubt that they will soar on, accomplishing His will.

Not an email person? Here are some other ideas for brightening up someone’s day:

  • Send an E-card (sort of dorky but sweet) Dayspring has a great ecard selection
  • Leave a message on social media site of choice
  • Can’t go wrong with a quick text
  • Post an old picture and tag your friend with a couple of nice words
  • Go way old school and pick up the phone
  • Go even older-school and (if you can) arrange a hang out session in person

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below how you like to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

xo, Molly

 

A Trembling Courage

I had a dream that I was being pursued by a group of thieves and murderers who wanted to kill me. I wanted to share it here because I’ve been working hard at my vocation in the past weeks and I just thought it was really cool.

 I was standing on sort of a hill and I could see the tops of their heads coming at me, the were wearing black masks so I could not see their faces. Instead of turning on my heel to run, I knew that I had a duty to stand there and deliver a speech of scripture to them. My voice was shaking tremulously and I had a very surreal moment where I couldn’t believe that it was me who was standing there. My thoughts were on the Apostle Paul who did the same thing, and who did much more than just read scripture, in much more dangerous and unknown territories.

Yeah for standing up for the Lord! Even though it was only a dream, perhaps it will come true. 🙂

 Psalm 25[aOf David.

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.

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Confidence before atheism

Atheism is the denial of the existence of God. I have many friends and family who identify themselves as atheist, and I myself used to live as though it was true.

This is the subject on my mind today, and being on vacation, I have let myself slip with my daily readings. Suddenly when a situation arose, I felt naked and unprotected. I had to get to a private place and build up my confidence in Jesus, my salvation, and the Word.

What I found was Isaiah 32-33.  It’s kind of long, but I want to encourage anyone who is up to it, to take a moment to slow down, clear your mind, and read these 2 chapters in their entirety. Isaiah is speaking to about Jerusalem and Babylon, but reading this today, all I could think of was the end times; of people who turn to God for protection and forgiveness, and those who vehemently deny the existence of God.

33:13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
16 he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure

18 Your heart will muse on the terror:
“Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute?
Where is he who counted the towers?”
19 You will see no more the insolent people,
the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.

It is easy to get carried away with our feelings and judgements on both ends of the spectrum. Remember –God alone is the judge of those who are not believers. Our job is not to attack, nor hide our light under a basket.

Be bold with how you express your Christian love: patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. Not insisting on its own way, not irritable, nor resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Cor 13).

This isn’t just a nice poem to recite at weddings, it is reality. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.the sword given to us that is so razor sharp it can  between the Soul and the Heart (Heb 4:12).

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Rom 5).

To learn more about atheism and how to respond, visit http://carm.org/atheism