When my brother was 15 years old he was hit by a car and suffered temporary amnesia. It was so intense that at first I thought he was pulling an incredibly unfunny prank on me. He would ask me the same questions repeatedly, and it was as if our conversation was on about a three minute loop.
Eventually I called my mom and told her she needed to come home from work because he was freaking me out. I confess that at the time that I made the call I still wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, but I figured that if he was he would call it off once I said, “You’re being creepy. I’m calling and telling Mom.” Once the Mom threat didn’t end it, I knew there was something really wrong.
That night at the hospital the doctor decided my brother needed to stay overnight and be evaluated. We were all in the room as the doctor announced the plan, and my brother listened to him and nodded earnestly.
As soon as the doctor left the room my brother looked at us and said, “At least I don’t have to spend the night.”
Thankfully by the morning he had improved, and eventually made a full recovery.
(He may or may not have used this accident to his benefit throughout the rest of his schooling. It is not up to me to say whether or not he would tell his teachers, “Oh. I don’t have my homework assignment today. Can I turn it in tomorrow? Remember, I was hit by a car and had amnesia.” And it is also not my place to confirm or deny whether or not he was using that excuse two years after the accident. That is something only he knows for sure. But I do know that I had some of those same teachers when I was in school. And they all asked me how my brother was doing. And they were all shocked when I said he was fine.)
Back on topic …
Just last night I felt like I had an “At Least I Don’t Have to Spend the Night” moment.
It was only a few short days ago that I was telling you all that I had learned during my intentional time of focusing on things excellent or praiseworthy. In fact, here are some of the actual words that I wrote:
“Rejoice in the Lord, always. Seriously, I am going to say it again. Rejoice. Let others see your gentleness. The Lord is here. Don’t worry about anything. There is a lot going on that you can’t control and that might make you feel anxious. Don’t dwell on any of it. Instead, pray about everything. Thank God for all that He has done, and realize that He is in control. He is bigger than anything that you are concerned about. Let Him know what is on your mind and in your heart. Let him know what you want, and honestly lay yourself out there. And when you do this, you will find that you have a peace that you never imagined possible. This is a peace that can only come from God. You can’t fake it, and you won’t find it anywhere else. But this peace from Jesus will protect your heart and your mind.”
Well, in the six days since I posted that, I managed to forget what I had learned.
I stopped dwelling on things excellent or praiseworthy. I stopped rejoicing in the Lord and letting my gentleness be known. And I stopped really praying.
I mean, sure, I would pause here and there to offer up a prayer for something that was on my mind. If someone asked me to pray for them I did.
But I stopped the ongoing conversation with Jesus that had become part of my daily life.
And the result of that? Three words:
Holy anxiety, Batman!
Last night I found myself in full on anxiety mode. My heart was racing, I was having trouble breathing, and my mind was popcorning away with all of the things that were pulling me down. I couldn’t focus on anything else but my worries and fears.
I realized what was happening, so I tried to talk myself into peace. I theorized and rationalized and visualized and everything else-ized that I could think of. But it didn’t work.
Of course it didn’t.
Remember Jane? Like you said last week? You can’t fake it. The peace you are longing for can only come from God. And it only comes when you lay yourself out there. Quit trying to control things that you can’t control. Stop doing. Stop trying to fix it. Just lay it out there and trust that God is bigger than it all.
Sorry, God. Let’s talk.
And once I prayed, and I mean really prayed, I saw His peace. My heart was guarded, my mind was guarded, and that un-understandable peace returned.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
See you soon.