Wednesday, March 17, 2010

worry&anxiety vs. prayer&thanksgiving

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Philippians 4:6 has been killing me lately. Of all the one-sentence baby verses I have memorized, this one escapes me more often than not. Worry isn't something I deal with consistently-- it shows up in awkward seasons of life and consumes me for a while, and then after all the plan-making is done, well...then it's done. No more worries. No more need for Philippians 4:6.

Ehhhhhh. That's probably not so good. Bible verses aren't exactly intended to be seasonal.

So right now I find myself in a huge, nasty, consuming season of worry and anxiety. Last week I was so stressed that I was making myself sick. It's mostly worldly plan-making that has me consumed. Planning just inevitably involves lots of thinking, which easily slides into worry. Trying to plan my study abroad/internship in Madrid this summer has enough worry in it for about five of me. Loans, plane tickets, applications, recommendation letters, language tests, background checks, orientations I'm unable to attend, and extra travel plans have pretty much filled my anxiety quota for spring.

Even more worrisome to me is anticipating what will actually happen once I'm there. My last home-stay experience was strange at best, and so I'm pretty darn nervous as to where I'll be living. I'm nervous about doing well at whatever internship I get. I laughed at my application-- I'm trying to pass myself off as a competent ESL teacher by explaining that I've taken one class about teaching. Realistically, I could probably handle a class pretty well, but I am TERRIFIED at the idea of teaching real live human beings this summer.

Apart from my study abroad, I'm trying to get things together for next fall, since when I get back, I'll have like 6 days before class starts. So I'm working on signing a lease and furnishing a house, finding a car for next fall. Annnnd passing all my current classes. And as always, maintain and grow important relationships.

So maybe it's this season where I try and break this habit of ignoring God's command to replace worry with prayer and thanksgiving. Sometimes prayers for really tangible things sound funny to me, almost whiny, or something. Which I know has to be another lie I struggle with believing-- that God doesn't want to hear about what I'm worrying about. But he tells us to pray about everything, and God isn't a liar, so he must really mean EVERYTHING, huh? Likewise, sometimes I forget that "Don't worry about anything" really means "Don't worry about ANYTHING." My mind interprets it as, "Don't worry about where you'll retire!" and "Don't worry about the long-term effects of health care reform!" and other incredibly far-off things that I don't struggle with worrying about anyway. I think it's time to interpret this verse to mean, "Don't worry about loans" and "Don't worry about interning in Madrid" and "Don't worry about your living situation" and "Don't worry about having a car."

Don't worry about ANYTHING........Okey. I'll try.

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