casting anxieties.

this post started as your typical lamentation of everything a 25-almost-6 year old is thinking about, and everything I’ve posted about for the last couple of years: church transitions, figuring out what to do, where to live, when things are going to happen, etc.

 

I could write books about transition and how hard it is to get used to things that are new, or that have taken ages to settle into.

 

But maybe for once we should talk less about the logistics (the who, what, where, why and when) and more about the pain (the how – how it feels.) Maybe we should talk about how it hurts to make yourself vulnerable and try to make plans and have them fail. How easy it is to lose hope that you’ll find a group of people that you’ll settle into. How embarrassing it is to tell someone what you’re thinking that you want to do with your life and three months later, nothing’s happened. How frustrating it is to have free time and nobody to spend it with.

 

We talk a lot about the details of our lives, but maybe we don’t give enough attention to how it feels.

 

It’s easy to tell someone that your plans failed, it’s less easy to tell them how it affects you on a day-to-day basis.

 

Embarrassed.

Frustrated.

Angry.

Confused.

Discouraged.

Lonely.

Sad.

Deflated.

Anxious.

 

These are emotions that every person in a transitional phase of life go through – so what do we do with them?

 

Lately, I’ve been musing on a directive from Peter’s first letter to the church, when he tells the elders to clothe themselves with humility, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. “humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you.” (5:5-7)

 

I knew that verse as a kid, but now I’m starting to get it. Now I’m starting to come to the realization that there are very real anxieties that come with very real parts of life, that we can plan our house, but unless the Lord raises it, the builders strive in vain (Psalm 127:1)

 

The question then becomes: what does that look like? Is it as simple as prayer? On one hand, yes. But I also think that we have to live out that directive – we have to live as though it’s okay if none of our plans come about, either at all or in the way we expected them to. It has to be okay if things don’t happen when we want them, or how we want them, or where we want them. We have to trust the sovereignty of God when we lose control, the friendship of God when we feel lonely, the wisdom of God when we don’t have a clue, and the grace of God when we make mistakes. It must mean choosing to let God carry the burden of our future instead of us.

 

 

 

 

[named.]

they used to call me Useless

or sometimes it’d be Stupid

as i sat around unable

to fix the car

or mow the lawn

or stop the leak

or change the tire

 

they used to call me Pervert

because i dreamed of women

without their clothes

because at night i found them

however i wanted them

 

they used to call me Addict

even when i wanted to stop

vices had me like a fish on a hook

and every time i squirmed it went deeper

 

they used to call me Angry

as logic fell on deaf ears

and heart availed head – painting

a picture of injustice i daily suffered

 

they used to call me Lonely

when i walled my soul

from ever being known

for “being lonely is better than being hurt”

 

they used to call me Abandoned

and Worthless

and Faithless

and Wasted

and Used Up

and Depressed

and Vindictive

and Arrogant

and Failure

and ORPHAN.

 

but the voice of the LORD –

which spoke the world into being

and called the waters from the deep

and called the dead from the tomb to life

and spoke light into darkness

 

– indeed, HE gives a new name to

those the world mistakes

 

to the orphan, He says, “son.”

to the dirty, He says, “clean.”

to the worthless, He says, “worthy..”

to the unloved, He says, “treasured.”

 

indeed, “sin” is not your name.

[mcdowell and slashes.]

i cannot deny – as i approach the benches

at mcdowell and slashes – “i hope that someone,

somewhere, someday wants to see these benches

because i wrote them in a poem.

i hope that someone knows my name

and sees it on a book at a store

or in a library – and picks it up for

no other immediate reason.

i hope that their spirit growls –

the way a worker’s stomach growls

at the scent of a stew after a

long day.

i hope it makes them want to walk around their historic neighborhood

(or be in one in the first place)

and celebrate every weathered piece of wood

for the story it tells

and watch little girls and boys playing

with their power and potential still ahead

and hear old men and women talking

with their long lasting lore and legacy

i hope they revel at the sound of rain

-for it forces us inside with loved ones

or makes us long to explore outside

i hope they smile at the sunrise

-for it is the promise of another breath

i hope they welcome winter’s whitefall

-for it covers all, dampens echo and reminds us – ‘hush!’

i hope they vigorously work, viciously play and vehemently rest

-for we have eight hours to do each

i hope they celebrate others

as none of us are fully alike and i hope

each man is fully engaged in his mind,

enriched in his heart

      and emissive in disposition.

(oh, may Life plant seeds in the

soul of every man – may they germinate

and take root until the soul is like a

garden with enough to feed not only

itself but its hungry neighbor.”