For as long as I can remember, I carried an agenda filled with items to do for today and endless tomorrows. Crossing off an item was my delight and uncrossed items for weeks and even months was a burden.
Attending anticipated events and meetings, then coming home after feeling empty, instead of fullness and satisfaction…
So now that’s over, what is next?
I mastered the art of agendas and to-do lists after more than a decade and pile of filled up and crossed out notebooks of various sizes.
Inside, I always knew that my obsession to complete items, move on, and add more was beyond normal, but the routine was too integrated into my daily life for me to do otherwise.
And usually I remember everything… I mean everything to the point of excess. Even when someone tells me about a potential plan or opportunity in passing, the information is automatically added into the ever accumulating web of information in my complicated brain.
This month, finishing finals a week earlier than most put a chunk of extra time on my plate. Instead of anticipated rest, however, I saw myself in anxiety with the overdue things I needed to get done when “I had more time”… but in actuality, I was far from being productive. The list overwhelmed me so much I found myself wasting and killing time.
When I’m under time constraints, I work to meet deadlines and usually do a decent job of meeting them.
So what was going on here?
The idol of control is sin.
A place of control is living by sight, and not faith.
A life declaration of “God, I just don’t trust you enough!”
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?… O you of little faith!… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be give to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:27, 30, 33-34).
Instead of anxiety, we’re called to 24/7 joy. It’s not an option, but a command.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7).
This passage is one of my long-time favorites. A recent revelation unveiled more secrets about these words of life:
1) I always questioned, out of all traits, why gentleness? Gentleness equates to Jesus-likeness. Why should we make Him known and “evident to all”? He is near to our hearts and must be reflected outwards, as a lamp should not be hidden under a bowl (Matthew 5:15). Also, the Time is near. He is coming soon – and He must be known to all, so every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
2) We must replace our anxiety with thanksgiving. He knows and provides all our needs (Matthew 6:32). He is pleased when we respond to his faithfulness with a heart of faith and trust. What else can we possibly need when God of the universe meets all our needs?
3) Cut off all useless thinking that brings no glory to God by leaning on him in prayer. We can’t free ourselves from our addictions and habits, but we can give our will to the One who can. God gave us the power of will. Let’s not pile on things and complicate our minds that should instead be consumed with the things of the Spirit. Surrender and severe the idol of control! Pour all your worries and anxieties at the foot of the cross.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9).
4) Let him replace your internal occupations with God-inspired thoughts. Truth is truth because it never dies and always refreshes. Once your mind belongs to God, the living water never stops flowing. Fill your mind with the Truth (aka the Bible, our daily bread) and take them into action – in obedience.
4) Obedience comes when a mind is surrendered to His will. Preach to yourself and live out: His will over my will.
5) Prayer and obedience brings peace. Both are results of a surrendered heart, and Prince of Peace reigns over a willing spirit. Two kings cannot reign over one kingdom. Give your rights and let him take over. I can’t explain Peace in words…you simply taste heaven on earth in His peace. And that alone is worth continuous surrender for eternity.