I’m worried. It’s not the first time. Not the last. Worry is my 'go to' life strategy. It's not served me particularly well but it's familiar.
A few weeks ago I gave up my security blanket. I left the best paying job of my life. In its place I began a journey into ‘what’s next’. And I’m a little worried.
Some mornings I look in the mirror and I say “What the heck have you just done? (that’s the g-rated version anyway) Why, in this economy, would you give up a sure thing to chase something that’s a little vague, that you have to raise money for?”
Because I had to. I didn’t feel I had a choice. Not really. It was one of those ‘God’ things you read about but just know it won’t happen to you. And then it does. You're both grateful and uncertain.
It's in the uncertainty that 'worry' finds its home. And it takes the form of anxious questions.
Will I be able to raise my salary?
How will friends react when they get that e-mail asking for help? Am I being too presumptious?
What if I don’t have what it takes?
Am I hoping to find a greener pasture, not blooming where I was already planted?
Have I put our future in jeopardy?
So, what do I do? When I try not to worry I worry all the more. I could pray. Should pray. Will pray. But …
And the sad truth is that I’d rather be secure than faithful. That’s the most bottom line I can find.
But I set my life in motion...away from what I think is security and landing on the more narrow path of faithfulness and trust. And in all honesty, it’s truly not a well traveled road. It is, however, the road I need to be on.
So I can lament my sad truth about my need for security but I can’t escape it, only lean into it and go through it.
Because the real truth is that God wants to teach me about faithfulness in the midst of my insecurity and worry.
When I talk about these things with my spiritual director he looks at me and says something pithy like: “So, God called you. Why do you think he won’t take care of you?”
And I don’t have a good answer to that. Never have. Because God has always been there even when I've been absent.
It’s hard, sometimes, being 59 years old and realizing you don’t have it all together. And it’s equally hard realizing that no one else thinks you have it all together either. It’s humbling actually.
It doesn’t surprise me, this melancholy mood. I’m preaching this week on spiritual warfare and I can sense a battle brewing. In some ways, that’s a good thing because something of God must be alive and well in these old bones of mine. The enemy of the heart doesn’t attack what’s already dead and in his possession.
But it’s a vulnerable place. Admitting fears and inadequacy. Second guessing decisions (even though you know they lead to something quite fulfilling). Leaning into fear and worry.
When you know your heart’s being attacked, worry doesn’t provide an adequate defense. Nor does fear. Nor does a pat answer or a cure-all Scripture quote.
The defense comes from the God who meets you in the midst of it all. Personal, yet mysterious. Real, but surprising. For you not against you.