Last week I talked about anxiety. As I consider pausing and anxiety in the same basket, something becomes abundantly clear to me.
Next week, my husband and I, along with about thirty-eight others, are traveling to Israel. Now, I have overcome my anxiety about air travel. I have overcome my anxiety about air travel across the ocean. I have overcome my anxiety about air travel over the ocean to a Middle Eastern country. This will not be my first visit to Israel, so it is like going home.
. . . speaking of going home. One of the greatest honors I experienced is when a friend traveled to my hometown with me. For one week, she submitted to seeing where I went to school, my childhood haunts, the church I attended, the places I called home. It was so honoring for an individual to display such love for me that she was willing to invest time and money to know me in that way.
That is how I feel about visiting Israel. There is this strange aura of knowing that I am walking where Jesus walked, I am standing on the cliff that people from his hometown were ready to push him off of, I walk the road he walked to the cross. It is amazing. And it is an honor to walk where he walked.
. . . now, about the intersection of anxiety and pausing. As the day approaches, I find it would be so simple to slip into anxious thinking. While I have overcome many things that caused anxiety in the past, I am not quite accustomed to the additional protocols required to visit a foreign country during a pandemic. There are just a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot. Testing before you go, but at an approved facility that will give you results in a format accepted for foreign travel. Testing when you arrive to ensure you haven’t contracted anything in the previous 72 hours. Then there is the possibility of needing to isolate at your destination . . . and it goes on and on.
Every once in a while I sense the little door to all the big worries sliding open and the slimy mist of anxiety wants to roll in and take over my heart.
And in walks PAUSE to confront anxiety. You see, it really is my choice. I can sit down and invite Anxiety in for tea and serve biscuits and jam. Or I can say no! And slam the door soundly in its face. I can pause.
Right now, on this day, there is nothing I can do to change anything that might happen tomorrow. Jesus said — well, let’s just see what Jesus said. . .
34“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.Matthew 6:34
How is your tomorrow trying to budge into today? Seriously, is there anything you can do to change tomorrow? If so, do it. If not, let it go until tomorrow and enjoy today.
Here’s the funny thing – I find that the trouble for today doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Because, in the moment, trouble isn’t that troubling. Jesus gives us grace for the moment in which we now stand (check out Romans 5 for that one!), but he doesn’t give us grace for what is not yet.
So, at the intersection of anxiety and pausing, choose to pause. Ask Jesus for his perspective on it and then let it go!