As a new year begins, I find myself a bit overwhelmed. Mary Addison broke her “good” arm and is more helpless than ever. Her seizures have gotten worse and she’s had several bad falls (hence the broken arm). To top it off, we lost our beloved caregiver to a job that offers better pay and benefits and we haven’t found a replacement. (Yes, she bailed on us, but do you blame her?) We are limping along financially. (What’s new.) There’s that extra weight I put on over the holidays and the Looming List of all the things I didn’t get done last year is huge. Need I go on?
It seems that everywhere I turn I’m faced with “You need to,” “You should have,” “Why didn’t you?” “When will you?” “How will you?” My Looming List is made up of things I need to/have to do to respond to those questions. While editing and re-writing The List, it occurred to me that almost everything I have to do is a response to fear. What will happen if I don’t do this? Who will do this if I don’t? What will people think? Who can live under that kind of pressure? But that’s exactly how most of us live, isn’t it?
We think worry and anxiety are necessary or we’re not doing our job. To be responsible, we think we have to “what if” things to the point of exhaustion – fretting over things that have not yet happened and may never happen. We use worry or fear as an excuse. If we weren’t worrying, we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. We wouldn’t know what to talk about. We let fear control every aspect of our lives – relationships, caregiving, money, etc. Living in the grip of fear, or walking in the shadow of fear, is just as suffocating and perilous as what we fear.
The Truth is, we may have things to do, but we have nothing to fear – not even death! Wow. What would that do to The Looming List if we took fear out of it? What if we replaced fear with trust? What if we practiced outrageous trust this year?
So, I’ve decided to start each day like this: “Lord, I am only one person and it seems like I’ve been given enough work for 20 people. Some of the things on that list, I don’t feel up to or qualified to do. I’m in over my head. But I believe that I was created to do Your will, and Your Holy Spirit works through me. So, without a whole lot of understanding, I’m just gonna trust that You will walk me through today – doing what You would have me do, the way You would have me do it. What gets done is to Your glory, what doesn’t will get done by someone else or in Your perfect timing. No guilt. No shame. You are the Good Master of my life – not fear.”
“I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2