Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Armpits

Hi, my name is Dawn, and I'm a worrier. But don't worry -- God has me on his twelve step plan for anxiety sobriety. It looks a little like this: The opportunity arises to totally freak out over an earthly care. You know when that happens, right?

First you feel like an elephant moved into your chest and is trying to escape through your esophagus -- heavy and slow. Instead, the pressure creeps behind your cheekbones and begins to crowd your tear ducts. When you finally think you have that under control, it props your eyelids open at bedtime and flings your brain into a whirlwind of rapid-fire irrational thoughts. Then, just in the nick of time, God comes through with a word of scripture or encouragement from a sister. You have just enough strength to make it through until God (finally) meets the need and puts you out of your misery and leaves you feeling like a dope for worrying in the first place.

Well, Saturday night the whole process began agian. What can I say -- practice makes perfect. I was up to the tear duct part by bedtime, so I got up and went to the computer to read. Sleepy time tea took its toll, and the next thing I knew, I was in Sunday School. Although I don't remember much about the lesson in Mark 13, a little nugget from the opposing page tapped me on the shoulder and did this:

 It was Jesus quoting Psalm 110:1 and the Holy Spirit's sword sank that truth, just with a slightly different slant, deep into my anxious heart. He used those words to tell me to draw near to his right hand while He defeats my enemies. Right now my enemies are Fear, Worry, and Financial Pressure.

I wanted to hear it straight from the horse's mouth (in this instance, King David), and discovered verse two, which says something about Jesus extending his scepter to gain victory. The rapid-fire thoughts now made me see Moses with his arms lifted to the heavens while Israel defeated her enemy on the battlefield and Aaron and Hur sat under Moses' weary arms. So I went to investigate that, and found even more a few chapters prior in Exodus 14:14 which says, I will fight for you while you keep silent.

God had given me a strategy to glorify Him in my weakness, and to reassure me He hasn't left his throne. Little did I know that my Father was arming me in advance of this week's onslaught of earthly cares. (Doesn't that sound less sinful than worries?) Doubt, Despair, Anger and their friends were soon to join the enemy camp.

Monday morning I found an obscure Proverb, more truth that spoke directly to the new assault. It has become the promise I have clung to all week. I also found the Chips Ahoys in the pantry. As I dug into the bag, I dug into prayer without ceasing, forcing myself forward in faith, feeling Jesus right there beside me every precious step.

It's made me wonder what fervent prayer is anyway. Is it the prayer you want answered so badly that your prayer comes all the way from your toes? Is it when you beg and badger like a spoiled child? Is it when you pray the same thing for the hundredth time this hour because the worry keeps pushing you to your knees -- ceaselessly?

These prayers are certainly different than the ones prayed before meals and at bedtime. Are those casual prayers? Is God fervently listening? Is the prayer even for Him, or is it for me?

All I know is that God directed me to stay at His armpit. His provision has already started to come in the form of zeros on a check. It's humbling when God is so good and teaches so much and always comes through in the end, no matter what that looks like, even when I feel so unworthy of any of His goodness. For now, I plan to stay put right where He has me, and let the chocolate chip cookies keep me company until every enemy is defeated.


This is a repost from the archives to link with "Hear it on Sunday -- use it on Monday" at Nebraska Graceful. I just love when the sermons reach past the pew and grips our Monday or Tuesday or Friday.

8 comments:

  1. Stopped over from Michelle's place--nice to meet a fellow worrier, learning ever-so-slowly to relinquish and trust and seek peace in God's word. Blessings to you.

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  2. Oh boy can I relate to this Dawn, from one worrier to another. How many nights have I lost sleep to something that later resolved itself...or was resolved by God. I like your questions about prayer here, too -- what qualifies as "fervent" prayer vs. "casual" prayer -- I'm with you on the questions. So many questions...and I'm keeping the faith that God will provide answers...in His time, in His way.

    Thank you so much for linking up -- I so appreciate the suport! And let's talk this week -- email me: my new email is: michellederusha1@gmail.com -- we'll set up a good time to talk!

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  3. I love that you say: God directed me to stay at His armpit - when I was a wee girl that was the safe place and even now with my hubby. I'm a worry wort but just how terrible it would be without an armpit to cling to!

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  4. I love the image you used. It seems that's what you did ... allowed God to embrace you through scripture as you kept knocking, kept seeking him instead of letting your fears and worries have all of you.

    Glad you linked up at Michelle's!

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  5. Love that opening description... I wake up with fear nearly every morning. I was always a worrier, but add chronic illness to that and you get a really good recipe for fear. And I've learned (almost) to accept the fear when it hits like that, almost as soon as I gain consciousness. And then, to breathe deeply and talk to God. Give Him those dark, deep, not-to-be-named-aloud fears. The ones He already knows about. As for fervent prayers, I think you've done a pretty good job of describing just about every kind there is. And I'm just glad we have His Spirit to help us pray when we just don't have the words anymore...

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  6. I am an expert worrier. I think I inherited that trait. We know in our heads that God's got our back, but somehow that does not compute. Thank God for chocolate and for scripture and for the still, small voice that reassures us.

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  7. You gave the perfect description of a worrier--I saw myself in your image. I'm just thankful that God keeps remembering me, even when I seem to momentarily forget that He's in control.

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  8. Bounced over from Michelle's. How could I not bounce over when I read a title like that!

    I've never been a worrier, never, never, but now ???. I've sort of grown into it!

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