Worry. It seems like all I do.
I spend every moment, between activities that consume my time, sweating and pacing, worrying about the next item on my agenda. School, work, friends, bills and summer plans seem to seize my every thought.
The culmination of a long pursuit was all it took to finally open my eyes to a peace that I have never known.
For most college students and twentysomethings, the most pressing issue in our life is the desire to find our compliment in the opposite sex. As I watch friends my age getting engaged and married, I always wonder when is it going to be my turn, or if I have been destined to the single life forever, and I am only 21.
For about six months now, I have been pursuing a girl/friend of mine in a long distance chase and at every step wondering if she was the One for me. It was the same old story of email, text messages and phone calls, always hoping that the sparks would eventually fly.
Whenever I returned to my hometown, we would designate specific times to spend together, and I would always end up completely anxiety ridden, reliving every moment in my head for hours after I dropped her off at her house.
Without fail, I would return home distraught and turn to God not for direction or peace, but for immediate answers as to where this pursuit was headed. I never considered that He might be teaching me a valuable lesson, providing me an opportunity for growth or using my anxiety to bring me to His feet. I never understood why God would make me wait so long for some type of solution to my dilemma.
So long had I sought after this girl, or at least the idea of her, that the pursuit had almost consumed my entire life, especially those quiet, lonely times when thoughts always seem to invade the mind. This slowly began to multiply the pressure and anxiety I felt in every aspect of my life.
Even my prayer life was taken over by this quest, as I began to turn the focus from God to spending the majority of my prayer begging him to cater to my wishes for a relationship so that I might be happy.
Needless to say, my worrying was not placated, and I began to slowly lose patience with waiting for God.
This past weekend God showed me the answer. I would love to tell you that everything was perfect and we are going to live happily ever after, but as we all know, that is not the case very often. On the other hand, we (or she) ended the chase.
All is not lost thankfully; the key aspect of our relationship, our friendship, is still strong and not tainted or awkward as one might expect. Amazingly, this time as I left her at her doorstep, I felt no anxiety but a peace that I did not even know could exist.
Looking back, I can see tests in every shape: patience, trust and even straining my belief in God’s ability to answer prayers (obviously I was praying for the wrong thing). Sometimes I was able to pass the test, but other times I fell flat on my face.
These lapses in faith were definitely unmerited, as usual, but I was desperate. Despite my failures, I was finally rewarded with an epiphany of immense proportion.
God, with His always impeccable timing, provided me with a calmness as I was leaving her driveway, one that I had not experienced in quite some time. My worry had been so complete that I had even dwelt on what I would possibly do when this episode in my life was finally over and even this crowning despair seemed to drift away until I was captivated by complete peace.
I quickly returned home, and for the first time in months, actually made God the sole focus of my prayer, and I was again bathed in His comfort and rewarded with peace of mind. It was an ending better than I could have ever hoped and truly restored my soul.
There is a lovely little passage in Matthew 6, from the Sermon on the Mount, do not worry. I have encountered this passage many times throughout my life, as any person that has attended church can testify, but often it is almost impossible to actually apply its command to real life. Almost every spare instant in my life is filled with worry, despite the fact that I know how pointless the practice is, in all actuality.
However, I am beginning to understand the importance of living my life without the burden of worry. I am trying to comprehend how insignificant all my worries truly are in the big scheme of things, accepting God and His peace as the only way to reach any level of contentment and happiness.
Next time every decision in your life seems to be staring you straight in the face and everything you have so carefully constructed seems to be collapsing, remember the futility of worrying. Instead of lending yourself to despair and anxiety and trying to add days onto your life, please take a chance to remember the timing and sovereignty of God and allow Him to provide you with comfort.
He has and will provide you with everything that you need; be content to rest in His arms and accept His peace because it might just change your life.