August 30, 2011

Be Anxious for Nothing

We've all said it.  "I can't wait!"  Which is a big fat lie.  Yes, you CAN wait...because you have no choice.  Not one of us has a time machine that can jettison us back and forth across the calendar to all the fun events and skip all the not fun ones.  We are all subject to the ticking of the clock and the turning of the calendar page.

What we should say is: "I am so excited about (fill in the blank), that I am anxious for it to arrive/start/open/etc."

Our whole lives are made up of many waiting games.  You wait when you are a child for mommy to get your lunch ready.  You wait when you are a pre-teen to turn into a "real teenager" so you can drive a car, date, or start college.  As an adult, we wait for vacation, doctor appointments and tax season.  HA!

The point is...we all WAIT.  Whether we want to or not.  We can't change that, no matter what.  But...there is one thing we CAN change.  It's how we wait.

Years ago, when I was 16, I had made plans to attend my first UPC Senior Camp in Oklahoma.  I was scared to death...but so excited/anxious because I was ready to make new friends and find my place within the UPC OK District Youth.  Prior to that, we had been in the ALJC and now I had to "start all over" and make new friends.  I remember a conversation with my dad about a month prior to camp.  We were talking about packing and getting ready and my dad asked me why I was worried about it so far in advance.  Well, I wanted to be prepared!  I didn't want to forget to pack something and basically I was wishing it were happening the next day so I could just BE THERE ALREADY.  My dad kind of shook his head and chuckled.  At the time, I figured it was because he was a guy and just didn't "get" how "important" these things were. 

Looking back, that conversation was a launching point into my own journey with worry, anxiety and waiting.  I think of it often.  I cannot recall a single detail about my first Senior Camp though.  Not one.  Oh sure, if I see pictures, I remember something, but I don't remember any details.  Funny, huh?

Too often, we get caught up in the worry, the prepping, the planning, the scheduling that we forget to LIVE.  How many of those days in between that conversation and camp did I waste writings lists, picking out clothes, working on hairstyles, etc...only to never even remember it. 

Now that I am older, I actually ENJOY the wait.  Yes, it's true.  I don't mind all the mundane routine and LIFE that I live in between the good stuff.  Why do you think the good stuff is so good?  It's because we have to wait for it! 

This past June, my sister and brother-in-law came to visit us in CA.  We took the whole week and toured Southern California.  It was an EPIC vacation.  We laughed and ate and stayed up late and saw Mickey Mouse and rode rides and ate and laughed and went to the beach and ate and laughed and stayed up late and toured a big ship and ate and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was AWESOME!  And's over.

No matter how hard I try, I cannot make time stand still, or fast forward it.  When we hurry through the wait with worry, we mar the memory of the FUN. 

In my experience, stress begets stress.  The more I stress and worry...the more I stress and worry.  It is VERY hard for me to be relaxed about things.  I am a semi-perfectionist.  I am a first born.  I am a redhead.  It is in my nature to micro-manage ALL things.  But the older (and grayer!!!) I get, the less I worry. 

This has been churning in my brain and heart for over a week now.  And like a child tapping mommy on the leg to get her attention, God has been tapping me telling me to "Be anxious for nothing!" over and over...and I think it may have sunk in.

In fact, just last night, we were on our way down to Gilroy in traffic.  I could feel myself getting ready to go into "PANIC MODE".  Trent and I called each other to make sure we were meeting in the right place and before he got off the phone, he said: "Be careless!"  And I answered "Always!"  That may seem like a funny thing to tell your wife, but it was just God reminding me of the scripture I'd been hearing over and over in my head for days now...  Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)   Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;.  Another translation reads "Be careful for nothing..."or, as my husband reminded me "be careless".   So, I began saying: "Be anxious for nothing, be anxious for nothing, be anxious for nothing"...and what do you know.  I relaxed.  I calmed down.  Ella had already fallen asleep and something I was dreading (driving in rush hour down 101 S) turned into a little quiet peaceful (stress-free) time for me.

I am learning that part of the fun of this journey called life is the waiting game.  We can worry through the wait (whether good or bad) or we can live through it.  And by live...I mean LIVE through it.  I am going to do my best to LIVE from moment to moment, day to day and year to year.  Time comes quickly enough and doesn't need to hurry or slow down any more than it already is.

After all, God's timing is always perfect.  He is ALWAYS on time, never late.