This post is part of the 2015 Pre-Launch Sequence series and follows the post My Name Spellchecks as Jerk.
I remember lying terrified in bed one sleepless night when I was little, clutching my small, squirming dog close to me and sweating through my pj’s while I stared at my closet – watching the handle intently to make sure it didn’t move. I had recently heard a scary story about a mysterious old chest. It was never absolutely clear, but the story alluded to the fact that it captured people. That was when I started needing my closet closed every night and a bright night light. If I could just stay awake and watch the closet door – nothing could hurt me. I just had to keep everything where I could see it.
Fast forward three decades. With my spouse cuddled next to me in bed I no longer need a night light and my closet doors are rarely shut tight. No, all that worry has now moved to the inside. Instead of keeping my eyes peeled and on the lookout, I now have a Worry Search Engine that whirs constantly in the back of my brain looking for signs of trouble. You see, if I constantly keep watch, nothing too bad can hurt me; I can stay ahead of it and avoid great trouble… right?
So, I have a few moments every day, and often one in the wee hours of the morning, where dread washes over me and I think,” What is it? What is the imminent danger?” And I access my Worry Search Engine for the worst possible thing that could have happened. Did I inadvertently break a law? Did I accidentally say something that could have harmed a relationship? Did I forget something important? Did I leave a toaster on in my home? It could be anything – but it is always something I cannot confirm readily, something that is not easily fixed and that makes me feel guilty and helpless.
Yesterday, as I walked out of the grocery store, my brain began to attempt to access my Worry Search Engine and all of the sudden I had a new thought – a bright, shiny, not-from-me kind of thought.
What if I don’t have to identify what the worst thing is that might threaten me in the moment? What if, whatever trouble may come, God is big enough to handle it? I mean, God has been with me through every trouble I have ever faced. He has kept hold of my hand and never let go. What if I can rest securely and then, when trouble actually happens, face it with Him?
“What if?” indeed.
And so today, I wonder if the second step in my new 2015 Pre-Launch Sequence is to turn off the Worry Search Engine and put my trust in God-- instead of myself-- to keep me safe and help me through every trouble when, and if, it comes.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
What do you do when your Worry Search Engine starts whirring?
This post also appears on the Women Pursuing God blog series: #BeautifulNew and is part of the series
2015 Pre-Launch Sequence: changing up my morning rituals.
It is absolutely true that if you spellcheck my name, Jeri, it comes up as “jerk”!
I often feel like a jerk. In fact, I realized lately that the prayer I pray on the mornings I don’t take time for a real quiet time with God – the days I’m just rushing out the door - is…
“Lord, please help me to not be a jerk today.”
It’s funny that my highest goal for some days is to not be a jerk. Doesn’t seem very lofty or visionary does it?
I questioned myself to determine what I mean when I say “jerk”… what am I afraid of being?
This week the Lord showed me that my thinking is a bit off. You see, I know in my mind that I am a new creation! I am recreated in Christ! The old has gone and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) I’ve been given a heart of flesh for my old heart of stone! (Ezekiel 11:19)
NEW CREATION ≠ Jerk
But I realized I still really believe I am a jerk. Deep down, I do not believe I am a new creation. I am just trying to paste a nice Jesus cover on top of a jerk--like one of those “skins” we buy for our smart phones.
The truest thing about me is what God says about me.
If you spellcheck my name it does come up, jerk… but if you “Truthcheck” my name, it comes up #BeautifulNew.
God’s Truth tells me:
· I am created in Christ Jesus to do good works He prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
· I am holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
· I am a co-worker with Jesus. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
· That I am a child of light and I shine like a star in this society.
(1 Thessalonians 5:5, Philippians 2:15)
What I believe about myself impacts, maybe determines, how I will act. If I believe I am a jerk, I will act like a jerk. But if I believe what God says about me and if I walk in His power, not mine… I will start to behave like the #Beautifulnew person that I truly am.
So, as I discover new morning rituals the first direction from God is to cease praying, “Lord, please help me to not be a jerk today.”
Instead I have a new prayer:
"Lord, thank you for making me a new creation – one that joins with You in encouraging, loving, and building up others. Thank you that that is the truest thing about me. Thank you for making me #Beautifulnew."
One of the unusual things about me is that at one point in life I had my mind set on being an astronaut. After I spent 10 days at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama I was in love! Life has since taken me on other paths, but once in a while you can see my Space Enthusiasm and Mechanical Engineering Degree peek through… this is just one such occasion.
So I’m viewing my “morning rituals” as my “pre-launch” sequence… what should be the habits I do regularly before I launch into the day? What do I need to do to connect with God and get on his agenda, before my natural inclination to do my own thing hijacks the whole thing?
Now, this is risky ground for me.
I am a recovering perfectionist and compulsive “do-er”, and if I am not careful I can make my morning routine all about the deeds and not about God (the one I am supposed to be using the rituals to connect with.) It’s by faith, not works, we are saved (Galatians 2:16)… and I’ve got to keep my eyes on the Lord.
So, this time, I am trying to let God guide this revamping of my morning routine and see what it ends up looking like. So far this journey has been unpredictable and I am embracing the adventure!
I invite you to join me on this new blog series as I discover a new Pre-Launch Sequence, and I hope as you do so, you will consider updating your own morning rituals and daily time with God and let me know how it goes!
Jeri writes about her spiritual journey as she lives out her everyday life.