Anxiety. Even as I write this my stomach is in a knot. I accidentally listed an item as brand new on eBay, and someone bought it. I had to send a message to the buyer and explain my mistake. It was an honest oversight, but I feel terrible and I am afraid he will be upset and give me a bad review and that people won’t want to buy from me anymore. I am still waiting for a response.
I’m leaving for Uganda in 3 days. I am actually not anxious about that at all. It is so big that there’s nothing I can do to keep myself safe (other than not stroll around Kampala flashing money in my bathing suit). I have to trust God to be with me every step of the way.
What is the difference? Control. When things are up to me, I get all the benefits as well as all of the consequences. I get the good review or the bad review. When our state of peace is negatively impacted by our behavior (think sin), we can either make the choice to repent (say sorry and try to make it right) or deal with the repercussions. However, when it’s just a mistake, I should trust God with the outcome as much as I trust him to keep us safe in a super heavy metal plane thousands of feet over the Atlantic. Control, even over the small stuff, is just an illusion sometimes. The only thing we can really control is how we respond.
My point is, as long as we are (to the best of our knowledge) operating from a pure motive, guilt and anxiety have no place. This guy could be a jerk. Your boss could think you’re dumb because you forgot to file the TPS reports. You might hit someone’s car. Mistakes happen. How other people react is an indicator of their character, not ours. Just keep doing right, and that’s all you can do.
On the flip side, how we respond to others mistakes (or even hurtful behavior) is an indication of where our heart is. Give grace, forgive, and keep it moving. Focus on the positive and don’t hold others captive through your bitterness or unwillingness to let it go.
I know this eBay thing is small potatoes compared to actual problems, but letting anxiety eat at us causes us to look away from God and focus on the negative. It definitely hurts my interactions with friends, because GOOD GOD, I CAN’T FOCUS ON YOUR LIFE WHEN I MIGHT GET A BAD REVIEW ON EBAY! It also really knocks me off kilter in my day. Worry stinks, and God specifically tells us not to do it.
Here: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” ~ Matthew 6:27
Here: ” 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 minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Phillipians 4:6-7
And….Here: ” Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27
Things are going to go wrong sometimes. We mess up and so do they. I give myself permission to have peace even when circumstances tell me to hold on to worry and uneasiness. Because God says so. Screw other people’s bad reactions. Not really, but kinda. Do your best, and give God the rest, and that’s it. Just say no to anxiety, Self!
***This post is not intended to discount anyone’s actual problems, only to offer Biblical advice and big picture perspective. No valium was harmed in the making of this blog post.