Today has been a bright, sunny and COLD Sunday – a beautiful day.
I awoke too early this morning, 6:30 am, with a slept-wrong headache that required acetominophen and caffeine. Stat. This could have turned ugly in the gurgle of a snoring cat, but I chose to seize the day. After a brief stint on Facebook (to allow the medication and coffee to kick in) and choosing Chris Tomlin and Eric Clapton on Pandora (I know, weird combination), out to the kitchen I ambled to whip up a batch of Thai coconut curry meatball soup. I had 90 minutes to be Julia and an hour to wash off the smell of browning onions and meatballs before heading to church. I was on the schedule to greet the peeps at the door, so I had to be on time.
Mission accomplished. Soup turned out excellent, I smelled like Oil of Olay bath wash and Secret deodorant. Yummy on both accounts.
On the 10 minute drive to Mission Church, my inner thoughts were a whirl about the past week – new projects at work that will make for a busy spring; conversations with Natasha about moving; looking for places to rent; how I sucked at my exercise plan; the aches and pains that caused me to visit my massage therapist and chiropractor within a day of each other; wondering how mom was getting along with her new phone; wondering how I’m going to find a very part-time job; and more. Quite a few thoughts for a short drive. Most of them were making me feel anxious, trying to drag down the day and give the early morning headache a chance to return.
Thankfully, the 10 minute drive, and being alone in the car with the above-named thoughts, ended before doom set in.
I believe I have mentioned this in prior posts – I do love my church. The peeps are so welcoming, so down to earth, so non-judgmental. I see smiles on most everyone’s face. I get hugs and hellos and good mornings from many wonderful souls. It is a good place with a kind and loving spirit that welcomes everyone, even if you only come for warmth and coffee. And, so, this morning I stood at the door to serve as a greeter. The greeter opens the door and welcomes visitors with a smile and a “good morning”. When I greet at late service, people are leaving from early service as well, so it’s a busy half hour. The lovely Brenda, who schedules all of the greeters, was also present and we were chatting when one of the church peeps (who I will call Megan), came and stood at the door, waiting for a ride. Brenda starts talking to Megan and I utter a few words, nothing profound.
Megan starts digging through her somewhat large purse and says, “You know, you are going to think this is dumb, but I have something for you.” Brenda resists her negative “this is dumb” and Megan insists, “No, it is.” Megan digs out colored envelopes and hands one to Brenda. She tells Brenda that there is a note inside with words of encouragement and she felt a desire to give one to Brenda. Megan also hands me a colored envelope. I tell Megan that her gesture of encouragement is awesome. Brenda presses the note to her chest and effusively states she needed words of encouragement at that moment because she has been down on herself lately. (We all are guilty of that one.) Brenda and I both relay our thanks. The ride pulls up in front of church and Megan makes a hasty exit.
I wasn’t sure if Megan gave me a colored envelope because I was simply standing there or that she suddenly felt I also had to be a recipient of this note. In any instance, I opened the envelope and read.
“I don’t know what is happening in your life right now. But God does. Even when you feel lost, sad, scared, and alone. He is there for you. Every moment of every day. There are very few constants in this world. We are always growing and changing. Change is often not easy. It can often mean leaving behind things that are comfortable and familiar. It can mean stepping out into the unknown. It can be exciting, scared, sad and happy all at the same time. Resisting change won’t stop it from coming. Be willling to trust God and embrace new journeys and opportunities.”
Thoughts went back to the anxiety-inducing 10 minute drive. As a Christian, trusting God is an oft heard message. As humans, we don’t always trust. Either in our maker, in our significant other, in our friends and family, or in how life will turn out in the next few years. Anxiety and unease grow the less we embrace change and the journey and the more we mistrust its outcome. And, yet, so often we choose that road. I have been on numerous anxious trips of change in the past six years and survived them all, never worse for wear. Surviving is putting trust in Him and in the familiar faces that surround. It most assuredly gets one farther than a nervous twitch and Pepto Bismol stomach. (I am taking notes at this moment, because I fear I will forget this all tomorrow.) (Natasha, I’m trusting you to also take notes in case I lose my notes.)
Megan gave me a colored envelope today that will hold court in the folds of my purse for the weeks to come. I intend to carry it around for inspiration and for moments of self-induced high anxiety. One of my favorite scripture verses from Philippians begins, “Do not be anxious about anything…” I want to embrace and trust in the journey, and in Him, and save the anxiety for the season-ending episode of my favorite TV show.
So, I ask you dear readers, whether you are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, agnostic, atheist, or just a spiritual soul…
How do you deal with anxiety? In whom do you trust?
How do you embrace change and your journey in life?
What words of encouragement would you include in your note?