Nancy and I took a drive Sunday afternoon. In the middle of traffic on I-75, I was telling her about my current lack of emotional margin. A number of projects and issues are running in the background of my heart these days. Personal, family, work, connections. I can tell when this is happening by a simple test: how frustrating are little inconveniences?
After a bit, we focused on getting through unfamiliar streets. I thought through the projects, weighing them one by one to see what should be eliminated. None of them. And I suddenly realized that this isn’t a workload issue. This is a worryload issue. It’s not the tasks that fill my heart, it’s the implications. Or better, it’s my concern about the implications.
Not four hours before, we had been listening to a sermon pointing to a text about worry.
Paul is writing to a group of people he loves deeply. “Don’t worry about anything,” he tells them. But he doesn’t stop there. Which is good. Because every time someone tells me to stop worrying, I argue. Every time someone says, “It will be okay,” I argue.
Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything. Or everything. Instead, make your requests known to God.”
Later, on my own, while not driving, I took a sheet of paper. “Dear God,” I wrote. “Here’s the list of what is eating away at my heart. Promise not to show anyone?” And I wrote.
On paper in front of me, the fears were a little more real, a little more clear, a little less abstract. There was a little more peace. It could be a mind game. But Paul’s words suggest something else is happening.
“And the peace of God, which makes no sense, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”