Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Antidote to Worry

When Job gets the news he's been wiped out, he falls down and worships God. Whenever David gets upset, he writes a lament that turns to praise. Joshua and the Israelites praised God and the walls of Jericho crumbled.

I'm seeing a pattern.

In therapy school, I learned real change happens when you focus on replacing an inappropriate behavior with an appropriate one. Instead of sitting at home thinking about not eating, you go for a walk or bathe the dog or pull some weeds. You get your body doing the right thing and your mind will follow.

Long ago, I learned the trick of wiggling your toes while getting a shot. Your brain is more occupied with the toe-wiggling than keeping track of the pain. It still hurts, but not as much as just sitting there thinking "man, this hurts."

People often think of the Christ-follower's walk as a list of "don'ts." Fact is there are more "do's" than "don'ts" in the Bible. We just don't like to do the "do's." "Don'ts" are easier and make us feel superior about ourselves. Especially when one of the "do's" is "be humble." Heh.

It's beginning to occur to me that rather than "not worrying," I should be "praising God." If I'm doing the one, I have no energy left over for the other.

I tried it this Friday. In case you haven't figured it out, bad weather frightens me. It's not a phobia, but it's not rational, either. It's sort of like figuring that every time I survive something, the odds of it wiping me out the next time increase. Like one day, statistics will kill me.

Why this should bother me, I cannot say. "To live is Christ; to die is gain." I'm sure I would miss my critters, though, and I hate the thought of leaving them for someone else to protect. Welcome to my hell.

But this Friday, I did something different. Every time I started to worry, I changed to praise. I hummed, I sang, I recited praise songs. I focused on the good parts of God, the parts I know I can trust, and I let Him take care of the weather.

Odd thing. The weather disappeared. The storm that had built into something worse than anyone expected failed to show up for the party here in Kansas. The weathermen all seemed surprised (a few of them seemed disappointed, the fear-mongers).

But I was calm all day. I think, even if the storm had arrived, I would have been calm.

I'm not saying I've mastered anything. I'm not saying this is a trick like wiggling your toes. But I do think our Biblical ancestors knew something we've forgotten.

No matter what happens, God is always worthy of our praise.

Praise ye the Lord!

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