Sunday, August 12, 2018

Time to let it go

We all have "relationship" issues - no one is really immune to them - even if they only last for a while. One such 'issue' is something referred to as worry or anxiety. What does worry have to do with relationship? Glad you asked! Worry must be understood in order to see the impact it has on us - both in our relationship with God and in relationship with others. Worry can be defined as those things (thoughts, attitudes, actions) that choke or strangle us - consuming our energy, and thereby choking the "life" out of our relationships. Worry impacts relationships because it is a behavior that "takes away from" the time or energy one puts into relationship - because our attention, thoughts, and activities are directed toward whatever it is we are worrying over. 

Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up. (Proverbs 12:25)

An old-fashioned definition of worry is to touch or "bother" something repeatedly. The idea of "bothering" or "repeatedly revisiting" something impacts relationships because what we have a tendency to revisit would sometimes be better off left alone. There are things we come back to over and over again that should have been left at the feet of Jesus a long time ago. Whenever we find ourselves "bothering" that issue again, we reopen wounds, impact trust, etc. Worry becomes our enemy - undoing some package of garbage and re-examining it time and time again. The stuff we should have been able to be free of long ago is actually a weight around our necks.

Probably the most telling definition of worry as it applies to impacting relationships is that of us subjecting someone or something to persistent attention - in other words...nagging! Sometimes we have a tendency to "overdo" our attentiveness to a particular issue - "worrying" it to death - and then we don't even leave it alone! This only serves to repeatedly direct attention to something that has very little opportunity to yield much in the way of results. The thing is done already - it hard to 'undo' what has been done - but we can move past it. If we are to do that, we cannot pay it such persistent attention.

Most of us think of worry as that "niggling" feeling we call "anxiety". This is an accurate definition, as well - it also has an impact on our relationships (both with God and with each other). Whenever we find it a "huge effort" to proceed or make forward progress, we are usually struggling with some type of "anxiety" over the forward movement we need to be making, but find we 'just cannot'. Fret as we might, we can actually change very little in our life by all that fretting. It would be better to spend some time with wise counsel, the Word, and in prayer. In the end, we would have an ordered, progressive approach to that which is making us anxious in the first place.

Worry only serves to weigh us down. It presents huge emotional burdens that have a negative effect of disheartening the one under the weight. It saps our strength and energy. In the end, we experience "relational" failures that bring "rifts" that seem to drive us apart (both with our fellow man and with God). God reminds us to cast our burdens (weights) on him. Where do we find cheerful words? Wise counsel, time alone with God, in his word - but not all that we hear will seem "cheerful". A word spoken or made alive from the pages of the word of God in the appropriate timing is able to produce "cheerfulness" inside our weary soul. It may not be causing us to jump up and down with "glee", but it sets us in the right direction, and that brings rest to our weariness. Wherever there is rest, there is "cheer". Just sayin!