I have to memorize and practice my Lord’s Day presiding stuff. I have to start researching for a paper on my liturgical tradition. When do I need to renew my car insurance? I have to finish filling out my FAFSA. I have to finish my Genesis exegesis presentation. I have to come up with an exegetical paper topic. Should I call my parents and see how my grandma is doing today? I have to talk to the financial aide office about student loans. I have to read and post a reply for my New Testament class on the discussion board. Did I make my car payment this month? I have 117 pages to read for theology by Thursday. I have to talk with my brother about working with him this summer. I have to read who-knows-how many pages for worship. I have to figure out what I’m reading for New Testament. Did I eat dinner last night? I have to download the readings for exegesis. I have to begin my final project for worship. I have to email my theology professor and ask him to talk about the test in our colloquy. I have to figure out what books I need for Greek this summer. I have to contact my presbytery. Did I send a thank you note to Mike and Sheila? I have to look at what classes I need to take next fall. I have to get my car into the shop soon. I have to be awake and get to chapel. I have to reply to the 4 emails I received in the past 20 minutes.
This is the track listing to the album that is playing in my mind this week. The tightness in the back of my neck, lack of sleep, and feeling like I should be doing something – always doing something – tells me that my old friends Stress, Anxiety, and Worry have come for a visit.
I know I should throw open my bible and read scripture, like Matthew 11:28, Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7, or Joshua 1:9. And as I read these verses, do you know what happens? Nothing. I’m not finding rest, I’m not finding peace. I don’t feel a little comforted, somewhat relieved, or even slightly un-burdened. Am I reading these texts correctly? Am I listening to the right music as I read these verses? Am I a bad Christian? Is my faith dwindling? Crap…more things to worry about.
I don’t really think that any of these verses are some kind of magical spell that can solve all my problems, remove my feelings, and brighten my day with a quick read. I think they point to a life that can have moments – days, weeks, months, even years – of comfort, safety, ease, and peace; all those feelings we want so much in this life. But the text doesn’t say that we will always remain in those places.
Granted, God could take care of everything on my list in a nanosecond, but what good would it do me to not face all of these problems, struggles, and schoolwork? No, God won’t take all of this away from me. In this moment I’m called to act: to ‘be’ brave and ‘cast’ my worries; to ‘go’ to God and ‘take’ His yoke; to ‘let’ the peace of Christ rule my heart as I ‘humble’ myself before the Lord. I don’t think this is a moment for me to be still, but instead it is a moment for me to take action alongside God.
I know I will whittle away at this list this week…and next…and the one after that. I know these things will pass, and I know things will get better. And I know, too, that the track list will build back up. But I know that God is right here with me in all of this mess, and that most of this is just stuff I have to deal with. I know I’ll get through this, and if you’re in this valley with me, rest assured that you’ll get through it, too.
much love. sheth.