Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The First Things To Go

Well, it's obviously been a long time since I've posted. The last couple months have been some of the most overwhelming that I've had in my life. Those who know me are probably aware that on September 25, my church (Crossroads) voted to strategically merge with another church in Ruston (Christ Community Church), a decision that really excites me about God's work in my hometown. For me personally, that meant having the congregation I lead in worship double in size overnight, a congregation that knows neither me nor my music. The first couple months of the merged church (The Bridge Community Church) have been exciting, challenging, and exhausting.

One of the many struggles I have is anxiety. I can become overwhelmed and I spend my time trying to gain control of situations that are simply out of my control. In the words of the SNL spoof of the late Harry Carey, I guess I'm just a worrier. (That's why my friends call me Whiskers.) So as great at this church merger has been, it also means that there's way more for me to do than I actually have time or energy to do. So I've been spending more time at work, less time with the family... but more than anything I spend time feeling stressed out. I'll lay in bed at night and make lists of things that I need to get done, or freak out over things I haven't done. I'm forgetting to do some things that have been a normal part of my job for the last nine years.

Thing is, we aren't made to be overwhelmed. It's an extremely prideful thing to think that we can manage everything in life, or keep it under our control. Part of being a follower of Christ means that we give Him control of everything we are: our energy, our priorities, our time, etc. But the fact remains, we don't always do that really well. And when I'm stressed, there are some important things in my life that get pushed out of the way. Here are a few of the most glaring:

1. Prayer. It's sad to say, but personal prayer is the most important thing that gets left out when I'm overwhelmed. I heard that a famous person once said, "I'm too busy not to pray." (I'm sure I could figure out who said it, but that would require a google search and I'm just too busy right now.) Philippians 4:6-7 is appropriate: "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."That's a command and a promise. Command: Don't worry. Instead take your issues to God. Promise: The peace of God will guard you. I could use some heavenly peace right now. Maybe I should pray.

2. Strategic thought. This is the reason I haven't blogged or journaled lately. I had a friend tell me once that the difference between "normal people" and "highly effective people" is the amount of time they spend thinking. So my friend would try to spend a few minutes every day to shut his office door and just think about life. I haven't done anything like that lately. It would be great for me to ask myself some questions. What's good about my life right now? What isn't good? What can I change? Am I happy? Is my family happy? Where am I going? Where do I need to be going?

3. Exercise. I told Karen the other day, "It's been months since I did anything recreational." I love golf, but haven't played in months. I feel better when I run, but have run once in like three months. I started 2011 by doing push-ups and sit-ups every day. (100/day, adding 25 every week). I got huge, the buffest I've ever been. Haven't done a push-up since March. There are certain times that I try to eat heatlhier. Those of you who know me are laughing right now, because I love El Jarrito and Captain D's. And I've been eating a lot of chimichangas lately. (I eat because I'm busy and I'm busy because I eat.) Wade Burnett told me yesterday that I looked pregnant. I almost exclusively drink soft drinks. The only time I drink water is on Sundays, and that's only so I don't get hoarse singing. I could go on, but I don't want you to know how lazy and undisciplined I am... too late?

In short, anxiety has led me to being spiritually, mentally, and physically unhealthy. So now, not only am I anxious but I'm depressed as well. I'm a really nice person though.

Problem is, I keep waiting for a time when I can get a handle on life. I figure once that happens I'll be able to get myself healthy. How whack is that?! Jesus was pretty clear, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Not, "Work real hard to get your stuff done, then you'll get yourself rest," but "Bring your burdens. Bring your worries. Bring your schedule. And in the middle of that whirlwind, you will find rest for your soul."

I'm weary. I'm heavy-laden. So I guess I qualify.

Do you? What are the first things to go for you?