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.
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: