Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Adding pic cause people like pics.
This is me and my brother.
I have been thinking a lot about anxiety and I have been reading books, listening to conferences and talks and biblical teaching on worry and anxiety.  Now I come by anxiety naturally (being a first born and believing my whole life that I have to be perfect – just ask my Mom she will tell you my WHOLE LIFE), it’s my struggle and sin that I don’t even have to consciously choose… it is so ingrained in me that it is my basic response to anything.  I know, in my heart, it is sin but I can so easy rationalize it as if it is just the only way to be.  It consumes me.  So what do I worry or become anxious about… this I have been seeking to know.  I was listening to a conference talk this morning and the speaker asks a very poignant question.  She said, “What is your treasure? What are you seeking? This is what you worry about.”  So this is what I am going to reflect on….

Now for about my anxiety:

It always seems crazy to me that when people speak on worry they always talk about financial worry or food worry or clothes… but seriously I’m just going to be blunt – yes I like clothes and I like to look nice and I like to be able to pay my bills and I like to eat good food but I’m a middle class American (and I’m content to be a middle class American - I do realize a lot of people aren’t and want to get a higher and higher status – but I am.)  So I do have nice enough clothes that can make cute enough outfits, I have food, I live within my means and so I can pay my bills… but I still am anxious!  BUT ABOUT WHAT?  It’s not what the speakers seem to focus on.  And then it hits me I am anxious about me.  I’m anxious that my best isn’t good enough.  That I am going to always let others down not “get it right” the FIRST time.  I don’t like learning (because it is often slow and difficult).  I like to know things but I don’t like the process of learning – making mistakes having to make corrections, the time it takes.  I just want the instant gratification of complete and this anxiety comes out a lot at work. 

Here is a pic of an ad I did for work
Oh work.  How exactly did I pick a career that constant critique and editing and change is daily, hourly, … remember that little word CONSTANT?  Hhmmmm.  Well anyway, creative work is always a work in progress, marketing is ever evolving and changing and so I worry.  I am anxious that I won’t measure up.  The funny thing is there isn’t really a measuring stick.  How do you measure an ever evolving process – so I create my own standard which is  PERFECTION!  Super!  I’ve set the bar to impossible.  Another aspect of my worry is my own rights.  The rights that I have set in my head that people should respect ME, that I shouldn’t be so flexible and giving because people will just run over ME, that I should have my boundaries respected because it’s my right!  Is it?  Well I’m still thinking about this one.

Now for a soap box:  Brace yourself.

So here is my other thing about talks on worry and anxiety.  Everyone seems to quote Matthew 6
 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
They talk about when Jesus talks about feeding the birds and they quote passages that talk about all our needs being taken care of… okay I’m going to take this slow… so let’s process this a little bit. 

Jesus constantly talks being thirsty – 
but he says to drink from the well of life.
     Jesus tells us to store our treasure in heaven – 
      because everything here rots away.
                   Jesus feeds the crowd fish and bread – 
                   not because they are hungry but because he wants them to 
                    listen and not worry about their earthly hunger.

          Jesus says – “Is not life more than food, 
                                   and the body more than clothes?”

… so follow me here… 
He then goes on to talk about the basic necessities of life… for birds.  okay… BUT he doesn’t EVER EVER EVER talk about the souls of birds.  So he then says, “are you not much more valuable than they?”  YES we are eternally more important than birds.  And Jesus was provided to us with the eternal salvation and redemption that indeed gives us life….

so here I go… I am open for being wrong… but I can’t get this out of my head so I am hoping that by attempting to put it on paper I can at least have it said.

This is a well in honor of my friend's baby.
They started the ministry Holden Uganda to
build clean water wells in Uganda.
I cannot say that Jesus is promising that I will have food on the table or that I will be clothed. He is saying my eternal soul is redeemed by Jesus and has life and I therefore should not worry because this life is fleeting – like dew on the morning grass.  I’m just saying, would this (the talks I listen to on worry) really be talks given to those living in the the poorest of countries and conditions - those whose children starve to death in front of them because there is no food.  Those who don’t have clean water to drink or a roof over their head or clothes covering their bodies as American’s have deemed appropriate.  Is not the gospel for them as well?  Could I say to them… you do not have in this life because you don’t need it and in the same breath say that I need food on the table, clothes on my back and a roof over my head?  NO!  

I say you don’t have in this life because 
you don’t need it for eternal life. 

Woe to us rich we are so wrong we don’t even know we are wrong!  “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

End of soap box.

My anxiety is me… and it is selfish.  My pressure is manmade and it is sin.  My “rights” are not rights promised to me they are sin.

So where does that really leave me in my anxiety?  Well I find the majority of my anxiety is at work.  I stress about getting projects out on time with limited time to work on them.  I stress about my projects being done right the first time (because I really don’t have time to do them twice or three times.)  But what matters?  I would say that what matters is that I do my best.  Do my work unto the Lord and if I do my best and it doesn’t please someone they way they think it should or the way I think it should, I know I have done my best. Now I don’t think this means I ought to work extra hours to accomplish ever task given to me in a day.  I think it means 40 hours of work a week are the parameters I am expected and required to fulfill for my job (“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:21) and in that time I will do my best.  I should not put up walls and barriers between me and my co-workers, I should receive them as they are and love them as Christ calls us to love.

Not so easy. Bleh.  That will probably be a-whole-nother post.


  1. I like your post. Good thinking going on in your brain/heart... Very encouraging actually, not that I think that it's rare for you :)

    Got a question for you. If it's too prying, please forgive me for asking...

    How do you perceive others when they fail you?

    I have a theory that people who truly wrestle with anxiety either fall on 2 extremes with the answer to that question.

    They are either 1) VERY critical of others mistakes and shortcomings (this doesn't have to manifest outwardly, it can even never be said out loud)


    2) WAY too easy on others mistakes, even to the point of reasoning that it's really your (Connie's) fault and not the person who actually made the mistake.

  2. That's a really good question Jono. I truly fall into #1. I am very critical of others mistakes when it relates to me (not so much when it doesn't affect me directly though). This is one reason why I married Phil. He is so compassionate he challenges me to step outside of my selfish judgement and to consider that "everyone is just doing the best they can". I struggle so much with the statement and argue endlessly that they aren't doing the best they can especially when they fail me. I almost always find myself casting un-forgiveness and bitterness toward what I see as people's selfishness when they hurt me. I guess it is one of those things about seeing the log in my own eye first. Selfishness and trying to be perfect is probably my biggest struggle and I can easily see it in others and I take it personally.