Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I Lack Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-7

Lately, I have a hard time sitting still. At any given moment I feel that there are ten really important things I should be doing. Even when I am holding my two month old son I feel the need to free up one of my hands so I can be "productive." I'll hold James in one arm and put away toys with the other. Or I'll tell my daughter, "I will read that book to you when I am through loading the dishwasher, sweetheart." But when I'm done with the dishwasher, I have to fight the urge to move on to the next thing. 

In other words...I lack peace. 

It's difficult for me to admit that this isn't because I have a "Type A" personality or because I am such a hard worker or even because I am busier than you are. Nope. I lack peace and I feel the need to run myself ragged because I am anxious. And I am anxious because of a lack of prayer.

I look at the demands of my ministry and the needs of my family and I realize that there isn't enough Lance to go around. I rightly assess that I am not equal to the task. The problem is my response to this realization. I ought to respond in faith by lifting this up to the Lord in prayer. I ought to turn to God in prayer and ask for help. If I would present my requests to God then I would be filled with the peace of God that transcends all understanding just like Philippians 4:6-7 says. 

But my natural response to anxiety isn't prayer. It's to WORK HARDER. To gut it out. To find a way to get it all done. Often this means that I push relationships to the fringes of my life and develop an unhealthy focus on increasing my efficiency. This has led me to be short with the people I love and to miss important opportunities for ministry. 

The funny thing is that I actually thought all of this hard work was pleasing to God. I thought I was working for God. In reality, I was working against God's will for my life. Instead of taking my problems to God for help, I was trying to solve them all by myself. I had made myself into an idol of sorts. I would solve my own problems. You've probably heard the saying, "Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God." I have never liked that saying. I think we should work and pray like it depends on God. Yet, here I am working like it depends on me and not praying about it hardly at all!

I didn't mean to do any of this. I got overwhelmed and started to worry. I began feeling self-conscious that I wasn't enough and I determined to do all that I could to make it work. Sadly I forgot that I was completely powerless to accomplish anything apart from God. I forgot that when I am weak, then I am really strong because God's power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). I forgot that no moment has ever been wasted when it was spent in prayer asking God to solve our problems.

Listen, there's nothing wrong with multi-tasking or hard work. In fact, I believe that God expects His children to be diligent workers. But let us work from faith, not anxiety. Let's embrace the truth that our problems are bigger than we are, and then let's lay those problems at the feet of an almighty God who dwarfs them in size (Matt. 11:28-30). So don't be anxious about anything, but simply present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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