Playdates with God: The Answer to Anxiety


The day rises up to meet the sun, dancing wisps of white reluctant to let go of the earth. In the morning, I am visited by a skinny fawn—alone in her wanderings. “Where is your mamma,” I ask, with my face pressed up against the window. She munches on the apples that are rotting in the red wagon. She cannot figure out how to jump over the fence back into the safety of the meadow grasses. I watch as she lingers under the plum tree—bedding down behind my butterfly bush. 
I wonder about her mother, and it makes me think of a young patient we have had on our unit recently. My heart stays there a while, and—like those white wisps of fog that tendril up from the earth—has trouble letting go. 
I’ve had trouble letting go of worry lately. 
There is too much to do and I am caught in this web of busy. My mind will not rest. So I think about the things I tell my patients when they are anxious and I wage a war in my mind. I practice the deep breathing and I work on progressive muscle relaxation and I visualize the happy place in detail. All of these things help. For a while. 
The little fawn wanders back and forth along the fence line, pacing between my yard and my neighbor’s. As I watch her frantic steps I feel my heart quicken. This is how I am feeling. Trapped. 
So I go where I always go when I am longing for peace: Philippians 4. I flood my mind with whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—the excellent, the praiseworthy…I think on these things. 
And it is good medicine. 
See, this is the difference between the ways of man and the ways of God. Peace is a Person and when I seek that Presence he comes and sits with me. 
I listened to a Tim Keller sermon once in which he said the answer to anxiety is to ask the big questions: What is the meaning of life? What is life all about? Why are we here? 
Man goes to techniques, he said: thought control, relaxation, imagery. Isn’t this what I tell my patients? But if I am a Christian, I must think “big picture”; meditate on what I know—God is in control. God has the answer. God is working everything together for the good of those who love him. 
Keller said that the perfect example of the big picture is the crucifixion. On the day that Christ died, he said, all of his followers were devastated. They couldn’t believe this could happen. It was terrible, they were overwhelmed with sorrow. 
And yet, they were looking at the greatest thing God has ever done for mankind. 
When I think small, I live small. I let the anxieties of everyday overwhelm me and I forget what I believe. 
While I’ve been working this out the fawn has worked some things out too. She stares at me from the other side of the fence now.
Then she disappears into the underbrush.

Over at The High Calling today, we are continuing our discussion of Life after Art by Matt Appling. Will you join us?

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:

Comments

  1. says

    I have been spending some time in Philippians lately for the very purpose of quieting my soul. Love how the bible can calm our worried hearts and overwhelmed souls. I can only imagine how difficult it must be at times to balance your role as a working woman in your particular field with your desire to share Christ for those who need it. Praying your weary souls finds some peace today. 🙂 Thanks for the encouraging post!

  2. says

    This reminds me of something I do as I begin my prayer time each day, Laura. I spend several minutes just imagining Christ and focus in on the scars on His hands and brow. It always brings such gratitude and worship welling up, and peace is the result of basking in the love that He showed to you and me. Great thoughts as always and so glad the little fawn found her way out. 🙂

  3. Shelly Miller says

    This is so good Laura and so true. When I think small, I live small. It’s something God is speaking to me too. Praying the tightness of stress will vanish for you this week, and you will feel the Person of peace with you in a palpable way.

  4. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Life has this nasty habit to get out of control when we try to order the chaos that loves to play havoc with our thoughts. What really helped me was when I realized that these emotions are not good or bad; they just are. I have asked our Lord to be Lord over my thoughts and emotions as well and am still in training taking it all to Him!
    Much love XX
    Mia

  5. bluecottonmemory says

    These love letters from the Father – written in the story of your fawn:) I am learning to hold on to that big picture and those promises. Thank you for reminding me to start my week like that with you lovely post!

  6. Kim Adams Morgan says

    Needed to hear this today. Life has been a little hectic and I have not been able to do my marathon hour bible studies every morning. I’m greatly missing it. I need to remember the “think small, live small” saying. It’s easy to get caught up in the details of life.

  7. Elaine says

    the “big picture” in Christ is a lifeline when cancer enters the life of your family … the details of each day do not seem so important .. a lesson from our Father that I wish I was not learning yet gratefully hold close to my heart …

  8. says

    I feel more peaceful just reading your post, Laura. Hope the fawn found her way home.

    Love this:
    “Peace is a Person and when I seek that Presence he comes and sits
    with me.”
    Yes!

  9. says

    this is the fourth time today i’ve seen something written about deer. maybe God is trying to whisper something.

    i wonder what.

    thank you so much for these precious words, sweet Laura. i love being in your place. {and Disquis is FINALLY working for me, so i can leave a comment!}

  10. Elizabeth Anne May says

    I too have been feeling anxious, the weight of a new school year with its attending new schedules, activities — and new ambitions and plans for mama as well. But, God has been so patient with me and my swings between wild leaps of fancy and low moments of despair. He calls me to the big picture, like you. Thanks for your words today.

  11. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    I just wrote a post on something similar last week (haven’t published it yet), but for me it was the words of Julian of Norwhich that placed me in that “good and spacious” place “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” So I wrote it on the wall above the kitchen sink, those words are keeping me afloat these days.

  12. says

    It is a busy time of year, isn’t it, Elizabeth? I like how you say “God is patient with me.” He is so good to me too. It helps to remember this. Praying for your mama dreams, friend!

  13. says

    When I think small, I live small. I let the anxieties of
    everyday overwhelm me and I forget what I believe.

    How many times I have done this, Laura. Too many times! And then I ask myself…how could you forget Him when He is so faithful? But His grace floods my heart and reminds me I am a dust bunny who needs to remember and hold on tighter, releasing the fears and making it to the other side of the fence. Thanks for a great post.

  14. says

    Excellent post. The thought of Christ’s sacrifice looking like the worst thing that could have happened, turning out to be the greatest event in the history of mankind, is a mind opener! While we don’t know the future, we know Who holds it. That has a way of transforming us from the trapped rat in the corner to the cherished treasures of our Father. Gained some wisdom here today, thanks.

  15. soulstops says

    Laura,
    Yes, Peace is a Person and it is His presence that comforts us…love how God gave you a living metaphor with the fawn…thanks for sharing the photos and your thoughts 🙂 love to you 🙂

  16. Amy Jung says

    Had an “aha!” moment here with you today! The world uses techniques but we—we have peace in a person. Now there is something to hold onto! Thanks for the encouragement on a day that it was much needed…

  17. says

    Thank you for sharing this. Worry is a constant struggle for me too. I appreciate your thoughts and summary of Dr. Keller’s thoughts here. I’ll need to listen to that sermon for myself, I think! “Peace is a Person and when I seek that Presence he comes and sits with me.” “When I think small, I live small.” Yes! That’s why Peter in 1 Peter 1 ties our hope to the resurrection of Christ, perhaps, and why hope and God’s resurrection power are linked in Eph. 1. Much food for thought here, friend. May your soul find rest in our God today, Laura, even in the midst of the circumstances prodding worry.

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