Super

My kids have really gotten into superheroes the past year or so. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman … all of them seem to make the rounds. I’ve frequently heard my older two discussing what power they’d like to possess. Would it be better to be able to fly or shoot webs from your hands? A while back my daughter told us she had a superpower. She’d found whenever we went into a store, she could open the doors just by holding out her hand.

I hate to admit it, but I have that same misconception sometimes. The other night, I had an anxiety attack. I’d been away from home for several nights and hadn’t been sleeping well. In addition to the physical stress of it, I had several heavy thoughts on my mind that were weighing me down emotionally. I was feeling some tightness in my chest and I worried that it might be something more serious than a little indigestion. So, I did what you do when you’re alone and scared and far away from your family. I called my husband.

He asked me why I was worrying, what purpose I thought it would serve. I tried to explain that I was afraid if I didn’t worry, then the thing I was worried about might happen. As I finished my description, I could hear him laughing. Of course, I continued, when I say it out loud, it just sounds silly. The smile was still in his voice as he teased me, amused at my belief that I could keep evil at bay by the power of worry.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:27, NIV)

Worrying is such a waste of time and energy. Yet, I find it so easy to forget that I have no power to change anything by fretting about it and letting myself imagine the worst. As though, if I could work through that ahead of time, I could be prepared for anything. Only, I’ve found I can’t really process difficulties in advance. I think it has something to do with God’s grace. He seems to only offer that in the present tense, like manna in the desert (Exodus 16). Instead of dealing with the anxiety, worrying just allows the fear to snake around me like a boa constrictor, leaving me paralyzed and gasping for breath.

God,

It’s sometimes so hard to accept that You will provide everything I need, right when I need it. I prefer to see what I need waiting for me in advance, rather than just trusting that You will always be there. Thank You that I can look back and see all the times You have provided. Thank You that You are trustworthy, even when I choose to be afraid.

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Be Grateful

I use that phrase a lot, especially trying to inspire my kids to appreciate what they have. They don’t often get it. They have no concept of what life would be like without all the luxuries and conveniences they enjoy. Frankly, I mostly don’t either. Sure, I’ve gone camping or on short-term trips to the developing world, but I always knew in a few days or weeks I’d be back in my centrally-heated home compete with indoor plumbing and a cushy mattress. 

This morning I read a great excerpt from Mark Sisson’s book The Primal Connection. He reminds us that making gratitude a habit is not just a good idea, but may actually improve health and increase longevity.

[W]hile familial genetics plays a large role in longevity, researchers have amassed significant data suggesting that up to 75 percent of longevity is related to psychological and behavioral factors. Emmons notes that chronically angry, depressed, or pessimistic people have long been observed to have an increased disease risk and shorter life spans. However, those who kept a simple “gratitude journal” for three weeks or longer reported better sleep, increased energy, heightened creativity, enthusiasm, determination, and optimism … and an increased desire for exercise. Now that’s something to be grateful for!

Click here to check out the rest of his post, including a few more simple, practical ideas to practice gratitude on a regular basis.