Concern and worry are different. Planning and worrying are different. Being prepared and worrying are different. But the line between them is so blurry for us worriers. Most of the time I have no idea that I've crossed that line until my finger nails have all been chewed off, my shoulders are immovable with tension, and I can't sleep for the thoughts racing in my mind. Then I realize....that line I can't see, I crossed it.
I married a man who is most definitely not a worrier. Generally he doesn't know what to do with my fretting and fussing. It's a language he doesn't speak, it's a lifestyle beyond his experience. But we've talked about my worrying. Always have. Even when we were dating, he'd offer up some Bible verses, crack a joke, and with his adorable crooked smile, I'd find a breath of air to suck in. Worrying feels like suffocating. Sometimes I wonder if I've been breathing at all.
This is where I was last night. Fretting. Anxious. Turning over and over and over again my fears for the coming day. So quietly with tears stinging my eyes, wanting peace desperate, I confessed to Curtis,
"I'm worried...but I don't want to be."
This is a huge step forward for me. Usually I'll admit that I'm worried but then rattle off all the reasons why I should be. How dare someone tell me that I shouldn't be worried! But it's been sinking in and coming at me from all sides that worrying is not healthy, constructive, or godly. Ouch. Worrying is a sin. I kept thinking about that last night in the darkness. I wanted to give it over to God but I didn't know how. Honestly, how do you take your worries to Jesus without getting all the more wound up by telling Him what your worries are?
Answer...let someone else do it. I confessed to Curtis my worrying and he knew instantly what was on my mind. Rather than sighing and telling me to not worry, it's pointless so on and so forth. He told me it would all be okay and then he asked,
"Do you want me to pray for you?"
Hallelujah! A break through for both of us. A humble confession, a simple reply. Exactly what I needed. So he held me and prayed over me and I felt peace and deliverance. As Curtis prayed specifically for my concerns, I just kept asking Jesus to break this stronghold in my heart and mind. It's one of Satan's best guarded defenses. He's built a castle wall with archers at the ready and then dug a moat around this stronghold of worry within me. It's impenetrable for me...but not for Jesus.
I fear that Philippians 4:13 has become a bit of a cliche for me. And the problem with cliches is that we all know they're true but they've ceased to bring real meaning to our lives. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is a true statement, packed with power and promises. But it can be all too easy to just rattle it off without letting it actually rebuke the Enemy and give me what I need--an actual lifeline to that strength. Today I learned not to just mutter the verse like a over-used mantra but to actually await the strength, to expect the help. And I got it. I was strengthened by an outpouring of His love, and when that is overflowing into my life, how can I worry? How can I let the lies and distractions get the best of me when I see the evidence of His presence in my life?
My absolute favorite scene in 'The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe' movie is when Peter and Edmund are losing the battle. It looks hopeless but then in the 11th hour, to everyone's astonishment, Aslan appears at the top of the mountain. He roars and His army of the redeemed stands in boldness and determination around Him. Having conquered death, the White Witch is nothing to Him. I cried in the theater as His roar filled the dark space...not only the theater but also in my heart. God is ready, able, and wanting to come to my defense, to roar and fill up the darkness with His power and might. (Incidently, an entirely different scene is my favorite in the book...but more on that closer to Easter).
So here I am, asking Jesus, my Aslan, to come in and defeat my White Witch of Worry. No more winter in my mind--bleak, hopeless. I've been freed from death, how much more so have I been freed from worry, depression, and anxiety?? Just as Spring spreads across Narnia with the presence of Aslan, Spring will spread across my heart and mind with the presence of Jesus.
I can't claim to be cured. Not yet. Not by a long shot. But last night and certain signs from my Deliverer this morning reassure me that I can be. This stronghold can be broken down and defeated. I can learn to plan and not fret. I can learn the difference between cares and concerns, and the downward spiral of worry. And praise the Lord for a husband that will pray for me, that will listen but not encourage the worrying, that knows just how to make me laugh, and with laughter start breathing again. God shows His love to me in a thousand ways, my husband's tenderness is one of the best. And last night, as I drifted to sleep, I felt my puppy's warm tongue on my hand and soft fur on my fingers as I drifted to sleep. Love defined in a puppy's perfectly timed kiss. Oh, how He loves me. And surrounded by love, who can worry?