This week has been crazy and I haven’t dealt with it well. Wednesday I was working hard to meet a deadline that didn’t get met. (It’s still not met and today’s Saturday.) Not meeting deadlines with customers is rare for us and something I consider highly undesirable. In addition, my computer was doing all kinds of things it had never done before. Working in programs I use every day I learned many new features by accidentally hitting the wrong keys and causing the software to do unwanted things. (Thus requiring much time to figure how to return the screen to its previously unmolested condition.) This is not a good thing when deadlines are looming.

The day was a harried one to say the least. Looking back, I realize that my mind was essentially working on two tracks throughout the day – one track was the project at hand, the other was a constant barrage of what needed to be done, how it wasn’t getting done, how I needed to call the client and how I didn’t want to do that.

Ouch! That’s no way to get through a day victoriously! What I realized late on Wednesday is that if my mind can stay on two tracks at once (and it obviously can), I certainly have the power to choose the second track. Yes, the work at hand must fill the first track, but the second track should have been about the goodness of God and my confidence in Him, not about my anxiety over not finishing the project on time. At any point in the day, I could have switched from the anxiety track to the grace track – you know, the one that grabs hold of my confidence in God. There are any number of things I could have done to arrest my brain and point it in the right direction. I did none of them.

Lord, forgive me. Forgive me for falling into the trap of believing that it all depended on me. Forgive me for stressing. Forgive me for not purposefully bringing you into the center of the situation. Help me to choose Your confidence over the enemy’s anxiety.

Wednesday was a classic example of not taking my thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says this:

3Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; 4for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments 5and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. (NRSV)

I didn’t even try to use my weapons last week. I just let the enemy have a day of victory. But God is greater, and having repented, I want to do better next time. So I’ve been gathering a list of things I might do that would help me jump from the anxiety track to the God track. Here’s my notes. Maybe you can add to them.

  • Pray continuously. I know that wasn’t happening last Wednesday. I was fretting instead of praying.
  • Take a prayer break – don’t just pray in the background while working, stop working and pray. This might require taking a short walk down the hall. For two or three or ten minutes, stop working and pray.
  • Play worship music in the background while working. This often turns my mind toward God in the midst of chaos.
  • Play worship music in the foreground – take a worship break. (Pick your song carefully – do you need a soft worship song to mellow you into God’s presence, or do you need a loud victory song?
  • I almost always walk away from my desk at lunch. It helps me to gain perspective in the middle of the day. I didn’t do that last week.
  • Call a friend. I should have stepped away from my desk to call a friend. My friends would have told me to get over it and trust God. I needed to hear that last week.
  • Instant message a friend – it would have had the same results as calling a friend.
  • Take a short walk. It would have not only had physical and mental health benefits, it could have turned me toward God.

Now I know that last week I would have strenuously objected to most of the things on this list saying I didn’t have time for them. But that would have been a lie. Everything on this list takes less than ten minutes, some as few as two or three minutes. Unless you’re in the 2-minute countdown for the next space shuttle launch or in a true split-second life and death situation, you can take two to ten minutes to turn your day around. Since I’m not involved in the space shuttle program and I don’t work in the emergency room of my local hospital, so can I.

The point is to use these weapons that are at our disposal, not to keep them on the shelf. I especially like the way the New Living Translation writes the beginning of verse 5: “With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God.”

Had I employed my weapons, I would not have fallen into the trap of believing that meeting the deadlines (and thus ultimately the success of our business) all fell on my shoulders (aka, a very proud argument). Had I employed my weapons, I would have seen God victorious in the day – I would have known Him and His mighty power. Instead, I allowed my proud arguments to keep me from knowing Him on Wednesday.

One other idea…I’ve decided to use the ring of the telephone at work as a reminder to praise God. Often when I’m over-busy, the telephone is a source of stress. That’s wrong thinking. Without the telephone I wouldn’t be able to talk to the clients God sends our way. The telephone is a source of blessing, giving us opportunities to meet our customers’ needs in a way that brings glory to God. Sounds like a good reason and opportunity to praise God. Imagine how different my day will be when I thank God every time the phone rings. I’m looking forward to it!

3 Responses to “Jump Off the Anxiety Track”
  1. […] « Jump Off the Anxiety Track 11 07 2008 […]

  2. Hi I like your post “ » Jump Off the Anxiety Track” so well that I like to ask you whether I should translate into German and linking back. Greetings Engel

  3. Sandy says:

    Absolutely! Thanks for asking. Be blessed, Sandy

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