I guess I had a bit of an anxiety attack last night but somehow I fell asleep before for an couple of hours before I had to work and woke up feeling a little better. Maybe it was whatever my wife gave me that calmed me down but, anyway, I feel a lot better than I did. I went to work and had a pretty good night. Even though I complain about it sometimes, I really enjoy working at FedEx. The constant busy nature of it really helps clear my head of all the crap. I needed that tonight. Hopefully, whatever was happening, doesn’t happen again. Honestly, I think I let some of the stuff that’s been happening at my other job add to the stress I’ve already been under and, last night, it all just came to a head. But, thankfully it was short-lived.
I really just need to pray about it and give it all to God. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I worry about things that are totally beyond my control. It’s a lot like riding in the passenger seat when I’m used to driving. Sometimes I freak out and want to grab the wheel. It’s scary not being in control. It’s not my circumstances that cause my stress. It’s my vain attempt to control my circumstances that cause my stress. It’s my unwillingness to surrender my grip from the steering wheel of my life that prevents me from experiencing God’s peace in my life. It’s like I am saying, “Go ahead God. You’re in control. OK…except for that area of my life… and that… and that. No. You know what? Maybe I better drive after all.”
Sometimes I can fool myself into believing that, if only I could, somehow, change my circumstances, then I would experience peace. Maybe if I made more money. Maybe if I could get my kids to obey more. Maybe if I had more things. But will having more things and controlling the people around me produce lasting joy or leave wanting something more? What does the Word of God say? Consider these verses from Philippians:
“Be careful [ ANXIOUS] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
— Philippians 4:6-9
Paul wrote Philippians from prison and yet this letter is sometimes called his “Joy Epistle”. In fact, in verse four of Chapter four, he tells his fellow brethren to rejoice “ALWAYS”. Rejoice?! I repeat, “HE WAS IN PRISON!” Did his circumstances produce joy and peace? No, it was his complete and absolute surrender to the will of God that filled him with true joy and allowed him to experience the “peace that passeth all understanding.” And of course it is beyond our ability to understand. It’s a supernatural peace that pours out from a loving God. We can comprehend it because it doesn’t make sense to our finite minds. How can a person in prison write a letter about joy and peace? Paul didn’t generate joy and peace from sheer willpower. No, the joy and peace he experienced came from the work of the Spirit residing in Him and in each of us who believe. It is the fruit of life surrendered to God. Our circumstances are not roadblocks on the path to peace. Peace will meet us right where we are. We [I] just need to let go of the wheel.